Friday, May 3, 2019

Ditch The 50/50 Frame Of Mind. It Is All About Balance.

This morning began like every other morning Monday through Friday. I got up at 3:45 a.m. Lisa got up shortly after. I made Lisa a hot breakfast and her lunch for work. Lisa took our kids out and fed them breakfast. She ate her breakfast. Got ready for work. What made this morning stand out from most others was her lengthy statement while she was getting ready for work.

Since about a month ago, Lisa has been working 10-12+ hours a day. There are evenings when she doesn't pull into the driveway until shortly before 8 p.m.

There was a time when she used to get home before 3 p.m. During the transition from Rite Aid to Walgreens, sometimes she would get out earlier.

When Lisa got out of work at 2:30 p.m. or earlier, she'd arrive home and change out of her work clothes. Spend time with our kids. Take them out for playtime. Then, dive into any housework I hadn't gotten to yet. Assist with meal prep. During the warm weather months, she'd head outside to mow the lawn and tend to other yardwork.

Now, that has changed. 

By no means am I complaining. I'm just setting the stage for the conversation we had this morning while Lisa was getting ready for work.

When Lisa got out of the shower and was drying off, I let her know that everything would be done by the time she got home. That included a scrumptious dinner that we'd be sharing with some of our favorite humans.

Lisa didn't say anything.

After a few minutes I asked...

"Are you okay? Is there something else that needs to be done?"

Lisa exhaled.

"No. I just feel bad."


"Not being able to help you out."

"With what?"

"Housework and meal prep and everything else. You've taken on so much since I've been working late. It's not fair to you."

I took a sip of my coffee.

"You don't have to feel bad. We're a team. You're at work, busting your ass. And sure, I'm doing the same thing here at home, but I can take breaks to tackle everything. I'm able to because I'm home. I don't even think about it. I just do it."

"It's not just about the housework or taking on most of the responsibility of house/dog sitting. It's about the peace of mind of knowing that our kids and fur-nieces are being taken care of. That you're home with them. It's a lot of extra work.  I hope you know that I appreciate everything you've done and continue to do. It's hard to come home and have nothing to do except change out of my work clothes, take the kids out, and enjoy dinner. But, at the same time, it's really nice. I just wanted you to know that."

It's not often that I'm rendered speechless but at that moment, I was.

It wasn't just what Lisa said. It was the tone of her voice and the expression on her face.

In order to understand that, you should know a few things...

First, Lisa and I are not "Hallmark People." We don't get all sappy and sweet. We don't buy cards for each other. We're not the fancy dinner, rose petals on the bed kind of people.

Second, we express our gratitude on a daily basis. That would include, but is not limited to...

"Thank you for finishing up the laundry."

"Thank you for my awesome breakfast sandwich."

"Thank you for my books."

"Thank you for a wonderful dinner."

"Thank you for putting the dishes away."

"Thank you for working hard."

Last, I am an avid reader, writer, and long winded. I could sit and express my inner most thoughts for hours. Lisa...not so much.

When Lisa extends on her thoughts as she did this morning, it's kind of a big deal.

I took it all in.

And, as mentioned, rendered speechless.

When Lisa was dressed and she was finishing up the last bit of her coffee, I responded...

"We are a team. I have always hated the expression that relationships/marriages are 50/50. They're very seldom not. You work outside of our home. Long hours. I'm here. Yes, I have work to do, but I can take breaks to do what needs to be done. We always make sure that stuff gets done regardless of who has to do what. 

Think about when we've been sick with the flu or with you, Lyme. Twice. When I was sick, you came home and took care of things I wasn't able to. When you were sick and diagnosed with Lyme and Mono a couple of years ago, I did the same. 

With the long hours you've been working, I don't see it as extra work. I see it as work that has to be done. If you can't do it, I will."

Whether Lisa wants to admit it or not, her eyes got a bit watery.

"Well, just know I appreciate everything you do and all the extra work you've had to do."

I told her...

"The same here..."

That's how we roll.

At times, it's hard. Really. Really. Hard.

If my chronic pain is blowing through the roof, I move a bit slower. I take one stair at a time when walking down the basement stairs to do laundry. I may have to take a break between vacuuming the carpets and mopping the kitchen floor.

But, it all gets done.

There is a great deal of pride in that.

At the end of pretty much all days, we're exhausted and sore.

However, we always give each other a fist punch.

High. Five.

We did it.

As. A. Team.

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