The older I get, the more I learn about myself and how I react to things. I know I’m on the slippery slope to a bad place when I start keeping score. My husband says “wow, I’m tired” and I start calculating the number of times I got up during the night with the baby during the last week, or who got more sleep this weekend. He gets to choose to stay up late and I have to forego any relaxing time to make sure I get some sleep before the baby wakes up – not fair! I fume while cleaning the kitchen and he’s on the computer! But, doesn’t he have the right to relax and goof off a bit? He works hard, at several jobs and he’s in school. But then I think – when did I last get to sit down and relax? I count the number of nights I’ve put our two girls to bed solo even though he’s out working. I usually let feelings like this build up and then I burst. I’m trying really hard to pay more attention when I start keeping a tally in my head, because then I know it’s time for an attitude adjustment. This isn’t about him; it’s about me and how I’m reacting. It’s not a competition. We’re partners. We’re in this together.
“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a Love like that! It lights the whole sky.” – Hafiz
We had a rough time this weekend. We had three very fragmented nights of sleep with our little one. And then on top of that, a skunk sprayed our dog. And that just put us over the edge. But this time, instead of getting upset, I just laughed. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry – right? We just stood there in the cold rain, washing our black lab with peroxide, dish soap and baking soda and laughing. I didn’t even cry when my husband spilled the peroxide in my hair as I bent over the bucket mixing up this crazy solution! We chose this crazy life and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We remind each other of that every night as we drift off.
A friend once mentioned that she felt like her mother-in-law was often trying to one up her on sob stories – her way of keeping score out loud. And my friend just decided to let her mother-in-law win. I mean, who really wants to win at the ‘I’m more miserable than you’ game – that’s no fun! And to play that with your spouse – no thanks!
We’re all at different places in our lives. I’ll get there again, wherever that is. Maybe it’s a full night’s sleep with a morning that starts sometime after 5am. Maybe it’s a regular yoga practice again. In the meantime, let me take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. And let me enjoy being on this roller coaster with my partner. I mean, who else is going to laugh about how bad our house smells right now? And of course there are probably many people who’d like to be just where we are right now too, sleepless nights and all. Maybe not the skunk smell though – I doubt anyone wishes for that.