I just put the kids to bed. It’s been a long day. I hit the couch with a bottle of water and my fat pants. My laptop is resting comfortably on the arm rest. My husband is relaxing in the chase lounge chair that is his. I have no idea what is on TV. The silence is broken by him first, “I’m going to be in [city name] next week Monday. I’ll be back on Tuesday. Did I tell you that?” My first reaction is to fire up my calendar to see if I put it on there because I have no memory of that conversation. It’s not on my calendar. “No, you must not have because I don’t remember it and it’s not on my calendar.” I put it in there. A laundry list of items that need to be done for him to go starts running through my head. Ironically enough, most of it has to do with laundry. #1 – Make sure all dress clothes are laundered. #2 – Press any shirts that need to be pressed #3 – make sure to have all hockey & figure skating gear checked and packed since I’m doing this one on my own this time (he usually does it). #4 – Remember to tell the kids he’s going to be gone. #5 – Make sure I have the ingredients for our ‘special supper’ that we make while Daddy is gone. ….. and so on……. As I finish my mental list I ask, “So what’s going on in [city name]?” His reply: “Work”.
The tone of his response sent waves through my entire body. I wanted to physically injure the man.
Now, if you don’t know our rocky past I’ll sum it up in just a few sentences. I don’t feel wanted by my husband. I feel like a nanny. I feel like I put 100% into our marriage and he puts in nothing. He’s an awesome father and the most dedicated worker in the history of the world. But he sucks as a husband. (Now there are reasons for all of the above but you can read my other posts to catch up on that so don’t throw too many stones at him just yet!)
The kids are playing in our small living room & adjoining play room. My oldest (7) is swinging the end of a jump rope around her head. My middle (4) is playing with trucks, running them all around. Middle runs through the living room and gets smacked in the face with the end of the jump rope. That hard plastic handle. Middle screams and cries like he is dying. Oldest just stands there looking at him. Completely emotionless. I rush to middle and assess the situation. It’s not bad. It’s red. It’s the shock of the hard plastic smacking you in the face as you are in the middle a great truck race. Middle retreats to the couch to calm down. I look at oldest…. my look says I’m mad at her. She starts to cry. “It wasn’t my fault Mom! He walked right into the end of my jump rope! I didn’t mean to hurt him. But he should watch where he is going!” I ask her if she thinks her brother is hurt. She responds that she does think he is hurt. I ask her what she thinks she should do….. This forced apology to to her brother is puked out of her mouth and she is crying. As she calms down I ask her what happened. She says she was swinging the rope around and he got in the way. She didn’t mean for it to hit him.
The room isn’t big enough for this jump rope to swinging around, nor is the living room the place for such play to happen. Oldest is the kindest person ever with a giant heart. She couldn’t hurt a fly if she tried. I know she didn’t intend to hurt her brother. If she did, she sure as heck wouldn’t waste her time swinging a rope hoping for him to run into it. She would have just walked up to him and smacked him with it.
After we talked a short time about the incident I (and I’ve said this next to 100 times to her) that while I understand that she didn’t try to hit her brother, she also didn’t try to NOT hit her brother. We talked about being aware of our surroundings before we do something. (That concept is completely lost on her. It drives me crazy. She never looks where she’s going. She’ll walk into a crowd of people and stop and then get angry that someone bumped into her.)
My husband didn’t intend to make me feel disrespected or angry or hurt or whatever…. But he also didn’t try to NOT make me feel that way. He admitted as soon as he said the word that it wasn’t something he should have done. That night though, he never said another word to me. I never said another word to him. My mind raced and hated and hurt and packed away more resentment with every moment of silence. Because that is what I was feeling, inside my body, at the time. He knew it was wrong. He said it later. Then why didn’t he say it then?????
My oldest didn’t intend to hurt her brother, but she didn’t try to NOT hurt him either. She knew it was wrong to swing the jump rope around in the living room because we’ve talked about it before. She felt bad that she hurt her brother but she saying she was “sorry” wasn’t going to come out of her mouth. I’ll admit that perhaps I should have given her time to assess the situation on her own rather then cramming it down her throat and perhaps I’ll do that next time. But why is it so damn hard to do the right thing at the right time?????
Marriage is hard work. Doing the right thing is very hard a lot of the time. Being comfortable is easy. Working on your marriage can make you uncomfortable. But so can training for a marathon. So can learning to down hill ski. So can swimming across Lake Michigan. That can all make you uncomfortable. You expect your training to be hard. You expect there to be days that you don’t want to do it. You know your fears and you choose to face them or you choose to give up. People have different gifts and talents. There is always one guy that is naturally good at everything he tries to do. He can pick up a basketball one day and make the team the next. There is always that Mom would seems to take it all in stride and the normal every day stresses just don’t exist to her. There is always that husband who sweeps his wife off her feet every chance he gets. But how great is it to work so hard for something you really want and you finally get it? You enjoy it so much more because you put your blood, sweat and tears into it and it’s worth it. You sacrificed, you fought, you pushed passed your comfortable boundaries and found out that small changes in your mind are huge in those you care most about.
I understand you aren’t trying to hurt me. But try to NOT hurt me. Get passed that uncomfortable feeling of actually talking to your wife so she understands how you feel.