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The Rock and the Teddy Bear

Anybody who knows Andy is aware that he has as much sympathy as a rock. If ever I am feeling fat or bad at my job or have a spat with a friend, Andy is the last shoulder to cry on. His typical response is something like, "You feel fat. Go to the gym." or "If you think you're not good at your job then maybe you're not." or "Well, maybe the two of you aren't really good friends after all." So much for tact.

And forget about being sick. When I have a head splitting migraine and need nothing more than a dark, silent room, Andy informs that that I'm faking it and leaves the bedroom door open so that Caroline or a cat can come in and jump on the bed. I have to say, once when I had a sore throat, he tried to make me tea. He ripped open the tea bag and presented me with a hot steaming cup of water full of swimming tea leaf flakes. At least it was an attempt to make me feel better.

Luckily for me, the human rock can procreate and helped me make a lovely, little soft and sweet teddy bear of a baby girl to give me all the love I need.

Caroline is the opposite of Andy when it comes to sensitivity, to the point that I have to admit, can be annoying. She notices the slightest inflection in my voice, she knows when Andy and I are at odds, when I'm sad or scared or nervous, hurt or sick. I can try to hide it from her but she is keenly aware of my emotions. When Andy and I have a heated discussion Caroline babbles loudly over us to get our attention and distract us from the argument. I tripped over her baby gate a year or so ago, crashed to the floor and pulled skin off of my shin in the process. It was hard not to cry. As the tears poured down both of our faces I had no choice but to pull myself together, for her sake as much as my own.

I've been sick a lot this fall and as you can guess, Andy barely notices my green color or my body hovering over the sink, retching. Caroline, on the other hand, is at my side should I give a heavy sigh or make the slightest gagging sound. Before I can recover, her little body is next to mine, holding my leg. Her face looks up at mine with deep concern. "Mamma, you sick? Mamma you ok?" and finally, "Mamma, you need a hug?" No matter how bad I have felt, I accept the hug every single time. It's amazing how therapeutic her little hands around my neck can be. She's so in tune to me now that she can tell if I am ill or sad or maybe even just tired. She always asks if I am ok and then offers a hug.

She exhausts me and tests my patience every day but she also lifts me up when I am down. She knows exactly what to say or do to make me feel better. She showers me with compliments, "Mamma, you the cutest. Mamma, you the best." This little thing in my life knows that it is the little things that matter.

I hope Andy is watching my interaction with Caroline and writing down some notes. If he was smart he'd realize Caroline's empathic heart gets her what she wants most of the time. "Oh, yes, I'd love a hug and sure you can have some ice cream!"

I'm not holding my breath but hope that eventually I can crack his tough exterior to find the soft center of my hard as a rock husband. For now, I thank his offspring for being the shoulder I so badly need.

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