So last night, at the breakfast table in our kitchen, my wife and I got to talking about everything that's been bugging me. Literally everything, too--I'm sure it took at least two hours. The kids sat in the TV room and watched Shrek almost the whole time, which was fine with me. They're thankfully old enough to know when a conversation shouldn't be interrupted.

What I wanted, naturally, was for her to nod and smile and let everything that I said hit her like a brick and acquiece and promise to make many changes. What actually happened, naturally, was she responded to every single point I made with some sort of counter-argument while I fended off a weather-induced headache and tried to keep my voice level. It's nice that we're both sensible enough to do that, at least.

The high point, such as it was, was her immediate reassurance that no, she didn't dislike me anymore. It's quite easy to love someone without liking them, after all. I've been feeling rather like that for about a week now, which of course is why I asked. I don't think she concluded this herself, which is probably a good thing since like most wives, she can tell when I'm lying to her face.

As things were winding down, though, and we'd headed outside to our porch swing to continue talking, I made the tactical error of mentioning that I felt like the increased numbers of teenagers in the house was causing part of my stress--that I felt like I was being crowded out of my own home. She quickly took this to mean that I was waffling on my commitment to our efforts to have a child together via IVF. I didn't mean that at all, and hadn't even been thinking about it. And I said so, and tried to backpedal around it.

It might have been working, but right in the middle of it our youngest stuck her head outside and told my wife she had a phone call. A couple minutes later she came back out and informed me it had been DCFS, calling us and asking if we were interested in providing foster care for a baby. She declined without even telling me. It might have been what we'd been waiting for for months ever since we'd been licensed for foster care, but she didn't bother to ask for more. She declined, and we had no way of calling them back.

Damn, damn, damn.

I'm worried that a baby, either by IVF, foster, or adoption, is just going to add more stress to our household that our still-young family isn't prepared to handle. She's steadfast that it will actually help her enjoy her days more, because she won't be at home taking care of only other people's kids any longer. I honestly don't know if I believe that, but she certainly does--it's all she's been wanting since before she even met me.

If she'd asked me, if I hadn't said anything about not wanting the family to be getting any larger, and the foster baby had been someone we were prepared to take care of, I probably would have said "yes".

But I honestly don't know if it would have been the truth.

So here I am, still tired and still frustrated, and for the first time I can remember, I have absolutely no idea what it'll take to get me out of it. Right now I'd take any sign, any gesture at all, to demonstrate that she does still like me and not just love me.

At least she's consciously leaving my wooden knives out of the water now.

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