“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” Susan Sarandon

I, Bob Hollander, have had the occasion to experience many things in the course of my life; but the one I am about to share proved to be a real first. Most of you still don’t know this, but recently I gave birth…to my first kidney stone. There I was writhing on the floor in tremendous agony and shock in the wee hours of the morning, and there was Lori, right beside me, as I certainly imagined she’d be. It was really great; except for the fact I just wanted to die at that moment.

EmpathySymbol-150x150Lori took complete charge and flew into action. She checked to make sure it wasn’t my heart. She made the right calls to the right doctors, and was told to get me to the ER; that it probably was a stone. I really didn’t need an ambulance. So my dear wife packed me neatly into the back of the car and off we went to the hospital.

We experienced a complete role reversal from when Lori gave birth. Thank goodness we remembered our Lamaze lessons. Here was Lori coaching me to breathe, “Come on Bob, breathe in through the nose; now blow it out through your mouth.” I just wanted to scream and tell her to shut up, but actually it did help, and I heartily suggest this method for every guy giving “birth.”

In any case, the thing I will remember most of all, which will remain indelibly and viscerally imprinted upon my psyche and body, was Lori’s caring. Her being fully there. Her concern – wiping my sweaty brow, and doing for me what I could not do for myself.

So guys, it showed me the importance of “being there” for those we love; being completely psychologically present and giving fully of our hearts. It gave me a new experience of empathy.

Fully-Loved-150x150These are the moments that will define the nature of our relationships – more so than any tangible gifts we could give. These opportunities to fully love and be fully loved mean everything.

I think every man should deliver his own personalized “stone” to get a sense of the pain that an object the length of a millimeter, and maybe the weight of a gram, can cause a human over the course of an hour. Then juxtapose this experience with delivering an eight-pound baby over the course of 24 hours.

Happily, in my circumstance, my delivery was a complete success and I’ve made a complete and full recovery. Daddy and “Rocky” are doing just fine.

But most importantly, I am left with impressions of not being alone as I went through a very difficult time. I was able to experience down to my core who Lori is and how much she truly loves me; and how I so very much love her!