A couple of days after bringing Briar home from the hospital my mom set a turkey sandwich on the arm of the chair I was in, “Be sure to save a little for Sean.” She said nothing more. She wasn’t talking about the sandwich, it was about my complete infatuation with Briar. If I wasn’t nursing her I was gazing into her eyes and kissing her brow.

I was in complete awe of this new creature and I gave her everything. My mom was reminding me that it was my marriage and this man that had made her possible. “Save a little for Sean,” could also mean, “Save a little for yourself.”Spend time on who or what brings you joy. Put your own air mask on first. Yadda yada yada. We know, but we forget.

I was reminded tonight as I watched Sean holding Briar before she went onstage, that we all need to trade roles. I cannot provide everything because in doing that I actually deprive. Sean doesn’t get to connect with the girls, the girls don’t get to operate outside my spotlight (or shadow).

None of us learn how to lean on someone else or how to cope without someone there. It can be heavy, but then to watch it. It wasn’t threatening, I didn’t feel left out, I felt love expand. She needs to feel his hands on her shoulders, I need to see her on her own. I try not to make it too mechanical or intellectual, but it really is arduous to hold on, let go, and accept melancholy in the same breath as celebration.

Tomorrow Sean and I head to the city for a work thing. The girls will go to my parents. I feel pulled both ways, like I ought to stay and like I am excited to venture into the city for a project with Sean. My parents get a turn, the girls have a different experience, Sean and I work in a different way. Everyone wins, but it takes trust and release.

Lights up on trading roles and sharing lives.