The other day one of the shelves in my kitchen collapsed. I thought I caught it in time only to have the other half give way. I couldn't catch it with out letting go of the side I was already holding. I watched helplessly as the shelf full of discontinued brown glasses which I had so painstakingly matched to my brown plates (all of which were wedding presents) went sliding to the floor.
At my cries for help and the subsequent crashing sounds, my boys rushed into the kitchen. Upon their arrival I simply burst into tears. "I've lost everything." I was convinced that I had lost not only the contents of the shelf, but that the crashing had no doubt broken everything on the shelf below as well. "I know they're just dishes, but I like having nice things ..." "I know," was all my husband said as he put his arm around me and steered me from the room.
While I sobbed into his arms in the bedroom, my boyrfriend cleaned up all the broken pieces and tallied up the damage (a task I don't think I could have born). After I had calmed down he came into report that I hadn't lost nearly as much as I thought.
Neither one of them, even once, made it seem like I was in any way unjustified in my sobs and desolation - even though I thought I was being ridiculous. I was given love, comfort, support and practical help. And I've been rarely been so glad to have two men to provide me with these things, as neither had to choose between giving me the comfort I needed and the natural male urge to fix the problem (which was also needed). They each just swooped in and took care of what had to be done. In that moment of pure emotional ridiculousness I felt completely loved and cared for.
Sometimes, it's not just about plates.