A few weeks ago, my wife and I were arguing about whom we’d throw out of a sinking hot air balloon to enable the other passengers to survive.
Then my wife raised the stakes. ‘Who would you throw out — me or the kids?’
I laughed, dismissively: ‘Neither, I’d throw myself out first . . .’ She shook her head: ‘That’s not the game. Me, or the kids?’
It was one of those moments men dread, when we know there might be a right answer but suspect there isn’t, and that whatever we say will lead to tears, usually our own.
‘What about you?’ I asked, attempting to turn defence into attack. ‘Who would you throw out, me or the children?’ Jessica didn’t even hesitate. ‘You,’ she replied. ‘Obviously.’
It wasn’t obvious to me. To be honest, my wife’s certainty left me a little shaken.
Was I wrong for not knowing instantly whom I loved more, my wife or my children? When clearly I should have saved my offspring?
Or was my wife wrong for her certainty that she would cold-heartedly toss out her life-partner, the father of her babies, without a second thought?
I was confused. Did Jessica not love me enough? Or did I love her too much? And, perhaps most concerning, did my reaction mean I love my wife more than my children?