The Couch

Monday, April 18, 2016

The other day I was watching the girls as they wound down for the day - in case you're wondering what that looks like ... just imagine two toddlers in just a diaper basically running around like two tiny tornadoes for about 45 minutes. Which ... yes, please continue to get all of your energy out little ones  so that you sleep well. The girls love to jump on my couch. They climb up, toss off all of the pillows and any blankets and just have at it, usually falling into a pile of a each other amidst a ton of giggles. As I sat across from them I felt a lump crop up in the back of my throat. That couch has been through a lot. It's a roadmap for at least the last 5 years of my life.

I remember being with my ex at the furniture store. We lived in a small two bedroom apartment, at the time. We picked out a gorgeous L shaped couch that you basically melted into when you sat down. Upon delivery, though - we unfortunately realized it was WAY too big for the space. It took up the entire living room and covered part of the door to the apartment so that you couldn't even open it. At the time it was hilarious and we sent the couch back with the delivery driver and headed out to the furniture store again that night. We wandered the store for a while and finally settled on this basic 3 seater couch. It felt okay when you sat down (not the buttery feeling we wanted), it was a bland color, but it was new and we needed a couch. It was delivered a few days later and fit the space perfectly.

I see this couch as a metaphor. Having this big dreams and goals that don't pan out and settling for something vanilla that fits just right. But that couch was my lifeline for a long time. That "vanilla" piece of furniture served me in more ways that probably anything else has in my life the past two years.

I spent 7 weeks on modified bedrest at the tail-end of my pregnancy due to preeclampsia. Modified means that I had to lay down for 4-5 hours at a time to maintain a steady blood pressure. My ex was finishing the tail end of her Junior year of nursing school, while working part time at the hospital. So I spent many many many hours laying on that couch gestating alone.

Gestating ...

After the girls were born and finally brought home after 2.5 weeks in the NICU, we camped out in the living room with them. We set up their boppys and placed a baby in each since they had to be upright with pretty bad reflux. My ex went back to work after taking a month off and also started back up her senior year of nursing school at the same time. So for the remaining two months of my leave - it was me and the girls on that couch day after day. They were so small (born at 3.12 and 4.2 lbs) and so I was terrified to take them out. Plus, how to you prepare for changings and feedings and carrying them around together? Plus scheduling time to pump? Running on bare minimum sleep? And recovering from major surgery (c-section)? So we stayed inside for months. It was lonely. It was heartbreaking. It was difficult. And that couch was our anchor.

Fast forward a few months and the couch sat in our finished basement for months when we moved into our new rental home. It was forgotten about as we ushered a brand new couch inside. And eventually when the bottom fell out in my marriage, it was the first thing I thought to take with me. It was where I was at during my pregnancy, it was where I was at when my girls had their first few months at home, it was my anchor. It was the only piece of furniture I wanted to take with me, as I gave everything else up.

That couch - although super silly to think about - has seen a ton of me at my worst. It has been a source of comfort during my pain, and it holds more memories in the past few years than any other possession I own. It's a bit intense to look at it now and see two happy giggling little girls bouncing around it, in our new home, a safe space, where I'm not tethered to the couch hour after hour. It feels like things are moving forward. Maybe looking up? Definitely looking different. I hope this couch has happier memories to come.

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