When it comes to most things in love, it turns out the love songs are all correct: you really don't know what you've got until it's gone. This goes double for the marriage bed.
About three years ago, my husband and I made a truly large, adult purchase. It wasn't our first. We have bought and sold a condo in Boston and bought a couple cars and a house outside New York City together. But it was a big one. Since the time we got together 15 years ago, we have slept on a series of hand me down beds. First one from his parents. Then one from my parents. But early into my third pregnancy, it became abundantly clear that we needed a real, grown up bed all of our own. We decided to go big or go home and went with the tempur-pedic choice bed in a king.
At first, all was rosy in our lives. My husband could have his firm side, I could have my soft one. Until it broke. About two weeks ago, I woke up and my side of the bed was almost entirely deflated. When it comes to sleep, I am a little like the Princess and the Pea. It can't be too cold. It can't be too hot. It can't be too soft. It can't be too hard. It must be pitch black and sound is a major no-no. If I wake up, I am up. Permanently. Even if it is 2 a.m. So waking up at 3 a.m. in a pit of despair was not my most favorite moment.
Meanwhile my husband's side remained high and tight.
I'd love to say that I was a selfless person who grabbed my pillow and went down to the couch myself (we are down a guest room since having our third baby), but I am not that person and this is not that essay. "Get up," I said to my husband. "You have to sleep downstairs."
My husband, who is not a special needs sleeper, stumbled his way downstairs to the couch. Little did he know, he would still be there 10 days later.
"Don't you even miss me?!" I demanded this morning as I watched him, shivering under his thin blanket, trying to cram his 6'3" frame onto our 6'2" couch.
"I miss sleep more," he said. After 10 nights of barely any sleep, his eyes are bleary and bloodshot. His body is tight and sore. His attitude (and mine, let's be honest) is probably going to require therapy to improve, but the worst part is how much I miss him. Yes, you can have sex outside a bed or even on one side of a broken one, but sex is not the only intimacy that comes from sharing a bed. I miss waking up beside him. I miss telling him my dreams. I miss his hand being under my head like a pillow. I miss joking before we fall asleep and reading side by side. I miss mornings with the kids in our family bed and slow weekend mornings while the kids watch cartoons and we have time alone.
Frustrations with the company being unable to fix our bed adequately aside, the reality of not having my husband beside me in bed has been incredibly depressing. I miss him, especially when I roll over at 3 a.m. and my hand gropes out into the loneliness and finds no one there. But it is also lonely to wake up in the morning to an empty bed. After almost two decades in the same bed, being without him for so long is lonely as can be.
And of course, my saint of a husband (who will be owed much love for putting up with this) has not been himself. And I miss his sunny attitude and good health most of all.
Our broken bed is making me realize how much of our life takes place on our King size slice of heaven. And how very much I miss when we don't have it. Perhaps someday soon it will be fixed. I am assured by the company that this day is approaching ASAP. Until then, I can only miss my husband and be really grateful that he isn't making me take my turn on the couch.
Honestly, the man deserves a medal.
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