This morning for the first time in months, I feel like sharing myself with Steve. I have thought about it often, but have lacked the energy for snuggling, never mind anything else. Sometimes I have felt guilty, other times I have felt downright bad over the length of time that has passed without doing something that has throughout our relationship has been such a pleasure.
It is difficult to feel like you are the kind of desirable person you want your soul mate to see you as when you have a bag and lines and ports in and hanging off your body. These things make you feel tired, grumpy, unattractive, even a little alien. I lie there in my bed, feeling fine in my body, by myself, but the thought of someone touching or kissing and being intimate with me in a physical way is not what I want. It doesn't even cross my mind. I know this is something I should enjoy, and that my husband would really love to have happen. Instead, he settles for holding my hand, and the now a days rare snuggle. He lets me take my time, and waits for me to be ready.
It is a strange place to find yourself in after twenty five years of marriage. There has been the natural ebb and flow of emotion in our relationship. There have been times when we have felt misunderstood, or distant, times of distraction or annoyance. But there has always been a desire for physical closeness and contact that has never waned. There has never been a fear of expressing our affection publicly, something that used to drive my mother crazy. We hold hands, we hug, we kiss. We still do all of these things, after all these years, something that sometimes disappears from relationships that go on as long as ours has. These are things that I feel are wonderful, magical and important in a relationship.
But this other part, the desire part, which is so closely linked to feeling desirable, this has been difficult. I am aware of it to the point where I will try not to start anything, because I know I will not feel like following through with where it may lead. This takes a lot of playfulness out of a relationship. It also makes me long for things I wish had not changed. Simple things, which may sound childish, like first thing in the morning laying down on top of Steve to say good morning and give him a kiss. It is so comforting and lovely, but I know I only do it occasionally now, and it is because of my ostomy bag. I know Steve doesn't care about it, but somehow it gets in my way, both physically and mentally.
Steve doesn't in any way buy into these things that I am feeling. If he does, he never expresses it. He still tells me how beautiful I am, and tells me he thinks all my new additions are cool, and even if I don't feel this way, I believe he really doesn't care about them. He has totally accepted these things about me, and is glad that they exist. Without them, he tells me, there might not have been any more of you.
So on this morning, after a Saturday that felt like something normal, I decide it is time. I shower, and snuggle, and let one thing lead to another. It is wonderful and tender, and long over due. And I realize how tired and strange my body has been feeling for months, and how finally, it is feeling like it is getting better.