It just doesn’t work. All this balancing and kicking ass and being bold. It just doesn’t work without my other half beside me. It just doesn’t happen. It can’t.
After this past week I’m terrified of how very tenuous all of this is, how much it all hinges on having this one person in my life. Because this past week, in fiction and in real life, two power couples lost the anchors, the guys that helped the women be the formidable forces they are.
Of course one is Sheryl Sandberg and her husband, Dave Goldberg. The other was on Grey’s Anatomy (judge away, I’m still a loyal fan), where Derek Sheppard was killed off, leaving Meredith adrift. But in both cases they were the other halves to rockstar women that sought to change the world and have impact, while raising a family and being committed to marriage. These men were supportive and inspirational and formidable in their own right. They loved being a part of a “power couple” instead of being a solitary star, as they by all means could have been. They role modeled performing the same juggling act that many women do – kids, career, marriage – and showed guys everywhere that not only is it not emasculating, that it’s empowering.
And while one is all too real and the other “just on TV”, both are stories in my life. Both have rocked me more than I’ve cared to admit until this morning I casually checked Facebook and saw that Sheryl Sandberg had changed her profile pic to one from her wedding.
And I couldn’t help but tear up. Feel the agony, for a split second, that must be consuming her. Realize how empty and devastating and unrecoverable that would be.
So yeah, amidst all of this excitement of possibility, of achievement, of ass-kicking, I know what it actually comes down to. To know that no matter what happens, no matter how hard this all gets, that I’m never forsaking the one person that makes it all possible.
All the cliches are true. Every day is a gift. And a couple days removed from my birthday I know that the chance to celebrate another year is a privilege. But to be able to do it with your best friend and biggest fan? That’s the real gift.
Because power couples are incredibly powerful in what they can accomplish and tackle. But it’s hard. It takes a toll. There are all of these needs and priorities but no clear lead so there are battles around every corner. Power couples come at a cost.
But these events remind myself of why I even bother to show up for the battles. Sometimes it’s easy to assume that it would be easier to do this on your own. To actually delude yourself into believing that you would be be better off if you didn’t have to compete with that other person for every trip and meeting and long work night. To long for some theoretical situation where you were always the star around which all revolved.
But that’s exactly when I remind myself that one half of what I have with J will always be infinitely bigger and greater and grander than the sum of anything that I will be able to create on my own.
So yeah, all of you married or committed-to-someone-else folks out there. All of you power couples in your own right no matter what it actually is that each of you do. Take a moment and send your significant other a silly email. Right now. It could be a funny limerick or a flirty note. Just take a second and do it.
I am so very thankful that I have the chance to.
Because there are countless others this morning that can’t.