We Survived The Storm | With Ginnifer Goodwin
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It can feel like you do anything for an ordinary day, Monica was a loss, go felt like that once before she realized how challenging those ordinary days can be Jennifer. Goodwin reads Monica. Essay clinging to each other, we survived the storm. She's known for her work in big love and once upon a time, and you can see Jennifer in the twilight zone on CBS all access. every couple has the story. And this was ours. We were prepared to whether storms for a wedding. We skipped the tissue paper and cream colored card stock of standard invitations, instead weekly to photograph of ourselves swing dancing onto a black and white picture of stormy ocean waves. If marriage -ment sticking through the hardest times we believed we could do it barely out of our twenties. We thought we had seen enough of life to know. After all on the day. David asked me out for a date at the office where we worked, I told him my brother had just died. And my father was near death instead of fleeing David got down on one knee by my swivel chair and said that must be hard. For years. Our story suited us for years. It explained us as a couple. Despite our differences, I left books, he loved technology. I told stories he wanted facts, I needed a tidy house. He needed a clean one. We were team when it came to the important things in life that we paid attention to different details. We saw the same big picture life was hard being together made. It better this faith in ourselves kept a strong win three years from our wedding, the worst of all possible. Storms hit us with the birth of our first son. Sylvan. Healthy. Full-term Sylvan seemed perfect at birth olive skinned long lashed, and his handsome, as his father, that six hours later. The doctors knew something was wrong within a day. Something seemed seriously wrong. I the end of the week, we understood that Sylvan had been so completely brain damage during labor that he could not survive without interventions, and even these would ultimately prove futile. Left alone in the little room, where we had received the news, we turned to each other whatever happens. I said, don't let this ruin our marriage. We needn't have worried, not then in crisis. We were solid as a couple. Driving back and forth between hospital and home, our faces pale and puffed with tears, we barely had time to eat and sleep let alone put on our dancing clothes, but still we moved to a common rhythm. In sylvan's chart, the social worker noted this couple treats each other tenderly. She was watching us. Everyone was. With Sylvan on life support with every day, a new decision about how to treat him, they were all making sure we were quipped to guide our son through how ever brief a life and we were whatever petty arguments. We might have had is new parents over car seats, strollers, and baby bottles shrunk away. To care for Sylvan. We cared for each other to love Sylvan. We loved each other to with life. So unbelievably tenuous we paid attention to what mattered. For thirty eight days, nothing. Mattered more than are left for Sylvan like any parents love struck with their newborn? We stroke to skin sniff, his loamy head and marveled at his starfish hands. But unlike ordinary parents who hold hope for a future adult within their love for a child Sylvan as a newborn was all we had knowing our time was brief. We loved him fully in the present. He taught us how to do that. For all our rage and grief joy overwhelmed us in his presence for thirty eight days. Sylvan was our life. And then once he was gone, the habit of new left continued. On a reverse sort of honeymoon grief. United us stripped of petty complaints. We felt grateful for everything for waking up to sunlight on the bed for each other's hands beneath the sheets with the dark humor of comrades and suffering. We called any kind of parenthood of than what we had endured parenting, light. We held our child until the end. After that, what could be so bad about having to change three dirty diapers in a row at the SU what parent could resent to child staying home from school with the flu. If we were lucky enough to be parents together, again, we figured we would never complain about anything. Ten years later. Monday morning at eight ten. There seemed plenty to complain about for starters. We had overslept outside a bitch a-all morning fog failed the street inside miles and Ivan now eight and six wrestled over a cardboard box in our little front hall, David was yelling at them to stop wrestling. I was yelling at David to stop yelling and the boys were just yelling in fifteen minutes. I was expected at the school for career day to talk to first graders about my life, as a writer, ten years from the death of Sylvan. I had published a story and fact my memoir, had only just arrived forty eight copies and box. So heavy, we had left it right. Or the postal worker had plunked down. And it was over this box that miles in Ivan now wrestled. With a scowl David pulled the boys apart. He asked miles where his shoes, were when miles didn't know David blamed me. I reminded him that he had misplaced the children's homework. He said he was heading out. I said, I should be the one to go ahead. So there we were trapped in the front hall together behaving as if marriage with children, which we had worked so hard for was almost uninsurable. When this happened to us back when we had vowed to stick with each other through sickness and health. We had imagined crises requiring her roic nursing not the patients needed to endure, the simple sound of another person snotty nose back, then for better or for worse sounded like a long term challenge, not something that could happen on a daily basis. In the months after Sylvan died. We hit still been tender with each other in the first two years of miles, as life, the same, and even after Ivan was born in exhaustion, flattened us, we had still been grateful team knowing that the effort of keeping toddler and newborn out of trouble with temporary and essential in something we were lucky enough to do, but under the growing wait a family, logistics everything, but the mundane had been squeezed from us until all our interactions from good to bad seemed reduced as miles, once put it in his eagerness to join in to talk about stoves and beds. Clearly, we needed to get past the front hall miles in Ivan were circling the box again ready to wrestle I grabbed each boy by an arm at school. They were working on writing small moment stories about their own lives. Proud of my book. They had wanted me to come in read a passage from the end where the four of us play together happily in the backyard sun, they had grinned to see themselves in print for miles in Ivan, my memoir, seemed simple. I was sad about Sylvan dying, but happy about them. As we struggled together in the front hall. However, I felt the distance between us in that happy, ending ten years on, we were living something almost harder to describe something, less, dramatic something so common people hardly ever talked about it. We were in the midst of an ordinary life. Separated from each other miles found his shoes, Ivan put on his sweater. I shooed them onto the porch where David stood impatiently jiggling, his legs in its quixotic way, the fog was already thinning at the end of the block. The sleep blue outlines of trees were filling in with green. Ivan was disappointed. He had wanted to walk blind through the fog miles wind about the coming heat and said he should have worn shorts. I asked to full it was that we were now seventeen minutes late. David said that if we couldn't stop complaining we should walk the rest of the way without any talking at all. The threat worked in the silence that descended even our footsteps sounded content. I clutched my book to my chest. Sometimes it seemed as if loving Sylvan had been the best thing about us as a couple. But this wasn't our only story up at the school. I was going to tell children that to. Right. They just needed to pay enough attention to their lives. But I had been forgetting to take my own advice. Sure, we were together, still taking care of two children when the sea seemed calm and it wasn't easy. In fact, parenting light was almost the hardest thing we had ever done in part because we didn't know how it would end. But how lucky that we didn't how lucky to be in the midst of it all? Just then David noticed the son. He pointed up from branch to branch of the tree overhead pale. Light seemed to drip, like paint toward us. It was a small moment. Ordinary easy to miss. But when we stopped to pay enough attention. It belonged. Jennifer Goodwin. Reading Monica was Alaska's. Essay cling to each other. We survived the storm catch up with Monica right after this. Modern love is supported by xfinity. Some things are hard to control like over caffeinated co workers other things are easy to control. Like you're in home wifi with xfinity X. Fi one curfew change your password, and create user profiles all the x fi at another reason, why xfinity is simple easy. Awesome go online. Call one eight hundred fifty or visit a store to learn more restrictions apply. It's been five years since Monica's piece was published, and over a decade since her son Sylvan died. He would have been sixteen this year, and that was a real shocker for me. I think for any parent, I somehow that's a really significant age. And so each year, I know he would have been a year older, and I've, I don't spend a lot of time thinking, oh, we would have been doing this or he would have been doing that. I accept that he's gone. But something about him turn the fact that he would have been sixteen actually punched me in the gut. I could imagine him suddenly as a person about to launch in the world. His birthday is April twenty seventh his death days June fourth every year for the six weeks. I'm a little bit emotionally up and down. And I think it must be that buried grief or that way that the body kind of remembers what was happening sixteen years ago and how awful those days were, and how at the same time I would love to have a second to hold him again. Monica told us that her second pregnancy with her son miles was very different that her first. In my first pregnancy, I would walk around and enjoy the way that the world celebrated my pregnancy with me, and the second time people would come up and do that thing that they do. Well is this is this? How far along are you? Is this your first baby? And I couldn't I'm a super honest person, and I just could not lie. So I'd say no, it's my second. My first one died, people really backed away for me. But it was the only way that I could figure out how to deal with it. And I had some really lovely conversations with people because of that. She says the first week after miles was born was the hardest. I would just hold him and I would cry about self. It was really strange because I missed Sylvan and I was very in love with miles at the same time I was very relieved after the first week something have lifted and I started to believe that miles was really here and that kind of hesitant around him lifted. Monica's kids are fifteen and twelve now and she and her husband have been married for more than eighteen years. What interested me in the peace was exploring the way that David and I have this kind of mythology about our ability to deal with hard times by mythology. I don't mean necessarily that it's not true. It is true, but it doesn't necessarily service during ordinary times, and I wouldn't say that we're a couple that speaks to each other in the tenderest way, I feel like we are often frustrated with each other often brusque. We are very different from each other, as I say in the piece. And so in ordinary times that's really obvious. So I guess that line, the best of us came out in crisis. It's true. That was the best of us. And. Sometimes we have to use that as a touchstone to remind each other to be kind to each other in ordinary times as well. And Monica has found that the pressures of ordinary parenting have eased as our kids of grown. I am finding that parenting older kids is not soul-sucking in the same way for me, just because my kids, give me a little more space. I had such a hard time with having my entire physical and kind of mental world consumed by young children. And now they've given me just a little bit of space. I feel that I'm returning to myself. And Monica says her essay reminds her of something important to. All of life is pretty rough. I mean, we're working hard and some of us are suffering far more than other people. But all of us, I think are able to get through it if we pay attention to those very small moments because those tiny moments that are fine art to be valued because you never know what's going to happen the next second. That's Monica was Alaska, she's the author of holding Sylvan a brief life. She's at work on a picture book, now she lives in California with her family. More right after this. The fact that in two thousand nineteen were having this debate about measles, vaccine, makes my head want to explode, which is tennis. Strange really strange place in the only people speaking up the parents, endless thread, the podcast from WB. You are Boston's NPR station and read it brings you a special series on the history of vaccines in anti Baxter's subscribe on apple podcasts, or wherever you listen. Here's Daniel Jones editor of the modern love column for the New York Times in our marriage vows. You know, we often talk about sticking together through the worst and through the tests that marriage and parenthood than family throw our way. And this s a really turns that on its head and the worst for them brought them together. And then she contrast that with the sort of mundane routines of marriage and parenthood. It was just one of these words. It's sorta surprised me as I'm reading it to see, you know, how true that can be with different couples, and it's a sort of indifference in a sort of heading us, the container apart relationship more than tragedy. And here's Jennifer Goodwin. I'm unsure what? The effect of this piece would have been on me before I was a mother. But now that I have two children. And no, the ordinary Monday day, very well. I found this so re-centering and I had a lot of trouble getting through it. I found it so upsetting. And that's exactly why felt I needed to tackle it. Thanks again, to Jennifer. For reading this week's piece you can see her now in the twilight zone on CBS all excess. She'll also be starring later this year. In why women kill and Dolly Parton 's heartstrings, next week, Jacki Weaver. I have been single for twenty four years just putting that ring on my finger filled odd almost embarassing. As later, it would be difficult to say my husband or Fordham selfishness Jim's wife to me, marriage, meant trouble Fadia pain. Why risk that again? Modern love is a production of the New York Times and WB. You are Boston's NPR station. It's produced directed and edited by Caitlyn O'Keefe original scoring and sound design by Matt read. Iris Adler is our executive producer. Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times, and visor to the show special thanks to Samantha Hennig on your strumming and mealy at the New York Times the idea for the modern low podcast was conceived by Lisa Tobin additional music, courtesy of APM, I'm magnetron wordy, cenex week.