If you're feeling a bit skeptical about the promise of Spring, please know it is here, and will arrive there soon. :) In fact, it must be nearly there since it's practically summer here, already: "The air's so heavy, It could drown a butterfly." (Grace Potter, Falling or Flying) The Southern winds are prevailing, pushing back any north wind attempts to get through here, and cool and dry off the air. It's the hot and wet season, now.
Just a quick raw photo, then, in case your weather isn't the same:
Marriage and parenthood: are we all insane?
The Impressive Clergyman: Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...
[cut to Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik]
The Impressive Clergyman: And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva...
[cut to the trio again]
The Impressive Clergyman: So tweasure your wuv.
Prince Humperdinck: Skip to the end.
The Impressive Clergyman: Have you the wing?
[cut to the trio once more]
The Impressive Clergyman: ...and do you,Pwincess Buwwercup...
Prince Humperdinck: Man and wife. Say man and wife.
The Impressive Clergyman: Man an' wife.
(Sorry, any chance to cite Princess Bride and quote it and I'll take it.)
So yesterday was one of those days. The three year old woke with a whine in her heart and drag to her step, and she miraculously managed to maintain that all day long.
It was all the joy and then some.
Yesterday was the day that's been hovering on the horizon for a while, now.
Both Patience and Persistence began this week exceedingly edgy, or so it seemed, although I ran through the usual "how this could be my fault or flawed perception" gamut as usual.
I had that conversation internally because---despite going in to work somewhere between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. daily so he can be home to say goodnight to the girls---my husband has not been here to share in that joy or conversation, much less run that gamut.
I have been hoping that his coworkers love him as much as I do because lately his workplace gets a lot more of him than we do. And by lately I mean the last month or more---excepting a slight respite on Spring Break.
That's why I was so irritated that he came home annoyed the other day because a coworker made a public snotty comment about the vacation time my husband recently took.
I had to sit down by myself and work really, really hard to not plot a trip up to the office the next day and whup some hiney.
I mean, really. I know violence is never the answer, but WTF? That guy never takes time off? Not to mention who does he think he is and why does he think any plane of existence thinks it's okay for him to make that comment? It just added to my husband's anxiety about taking time off.
And wow, that's just what we need, so I'd like to strongly thank my husband's coworker whose ass I'd really, really like to kick.
I don't get some people some time. I honestly don't. I try really hard to stay on the high road, but as someone with a Madam Justice complex (or is it a trait since I was born with it?) sometimes that is a True Struggle.
My husband often gets little jabby comments like that, and will just laugh it off because the man is so much nicer than me (which I realize is not that hard to do and it takes me about ten seconds to say Eff You while it might take him ten years).
The other day he left at 5 p.m. HELLO NORMAL WORK DEPARTURE TIME IN THE LAND OF NORMAL FOLKS!
But this is not an 8 hour work day. Oh no, he'd already logged THIRTEEN HOURS of work that day.
And some numbnut makes a snotty comment to him about taking off EARLY.
Again, deep breathing and yoga stretching.
My anger is because my family is sacrificing. My husband is sacrificing.
All for a job that pays what ought to be enough to live on, but these days, is not.
And so I must hunt daily to scrounge up work, which I am willing to do. I am fine with it. It's 90% "we've got nothing or people are willing to give away the cow for free these days" and 10% "thank you Dear God in Heaven above you don't hate me totally." Which is kind of a hard way to live, and I guess I'm not good at getting calluses because each time one of my articles or stories is rejected it hurts and stresses me.
I think most of us are like that, though, and writers who say rejection is no big deal are either lying or sociopaths (sorry friends, you know, if you're something else).
So I'm a little wired, the husband is about five steps past exhausted, and the kids decided to re-enter the "let's see if we can kick the parents' asses a wee bit with a boundary testing and defiance stage."
That goes together like an ice cold glass of milk and an Oreo cookie: it's the classic combination.
Yeah, classic combination for the road to hell in a handbasket (if I may mix slogans and metaphors).
Mmmmm Oreos. That sounds good. hang on...
Yeah right, am too old to keep sweet snacks in house. Choices: apples, radishes, and beets. <--- Secret to successful dieting: make eating so unpleasant you don't want to do it (KIDDING!)
Okay so sacrificing.
It just makes me angry, that lack of well, any couth, among some of his coworkers.
Here's something I decided about the workplace a very long time ago: it's NOT FAIR. That mimicked exactly what I had already learned about life! Incredible! Fair is not a state of being because life isn't perfect; a fair is a place where you can eat cotton candy and ride a Ferris wheel and forget for a while that life isn't fair.
I also decided that what others are up to cannot be my business, in general, if it's not my business. Is Susie Q coworker in at 10 and out at 4? NOT MY BUSINESS. The only reason I should have a vested interest in that is if she reports me and those weren't our agreed upon working hours or she works with me and isn't getting her work done.
In which case, aggressive passive aggressive attacks in meetings? Not how it should be handled.
Folks, like I said, I've got the Madam Justice complex and also a bad case of Control Freak on top of that and if I can keep a handle on this concept surely others can too.
Plus, if anyone is going to make my husband feel guilty it's going to be me. Not his coworker.
But I feel badly about it because I know he's awfully good at guilt-tripping himself, and if I dish any out then he'll be getting it from both ends, which, as we all know, makes him feel squeezed, and, as the experts assure us, causes the Male of the species to go into a cave and that's just what we need: retreat after absence.
I want the world at large and all ten of my readers to know that the first 3-4 weeks of this I am fairly graceful about it, but then I have this limit, see, which got bypassed sometime around Wednesday of this week.
Then I start wanting to schlep to his office---which is in Houston and those who know me know how much I hate going into Houston---with a club, which I will use to threaten anyone who intervenes as I drag him home by his hair.
Whew. Yeah. Just a little stressed.
I tell you all of this to tell you the real story (and hang on, hang in there). I needed to set the stage, you see, for why it was that I said what I did in the car last night with the kids.
Like I said, it was one of those days yesterday. The kids only wanted what they could not have and tantrummed and sassed and sulked and stomped about.
The "it's good the kids feel safe enough and secure enough to be real with me, to let out whatever is eating at them here, at home, with me" can only take you so far.
The "go to your room until you can be kind or are ready to talk about it" can only take you so far.
So last night, when---after going to work at 3 a.m.---my husband thought he'd leave by 7 p.m. (which I mentally corrected/adjusted to "real clock time" of 10 p.m.), I decided to do the old "trap the kids in car seats and go to a drive-in fast food eatery and ply them with junk food" trick.
Except. Said eatery was unacceptable to the three year old for the following reasons: Great scott, cannot type them all out; suffice it to say everything was unacceptable, from the weather to the menu items.
When the carhop delivered our food, this is what he witnessed:
Sullen six year old in front passenger seat
White-faced mom with hair pulled messily into pony tail clutching steering wheel
Screaming red-faced three year old sitting on the car console in diaper and t-shirt
All of probably 16 years old, he gallantly and valiantly attempted to communicate with me above the din and convey his utmost sympathy for my situation and apparent insanity.
As I tried to hand out the food to sulky and screaming kids who found no joy or acceptance in anything, I felt something inside me snap, not like "went postal" snap, no, more like "hit the wall and decided, eh, can't climb over it, so I'll just lay down here in front of it and DIE" snap.
My head? It fell to the steering wheel.
This startled the children.
"What are you doing, Mommy?" they asked, wary, sure this was another one of my "trick you out of your nasty behavior" tactics.
"Quitting," I said.
"Quitting? What do you mean, quitting?"
"I mean, quitting. I have lost my mind. Lost. It. It's gone. So. Eat hearty me girls, this is the last meal we'll have together for a while."
"Well, when people lose their minds they have to go to sanatoriums for a while to try to see if they can find them again. That's me. I'll have to go to a sanatorium. I'm sure, after a month or so, they'll let you visit."
"You lost your mind, mommy? Oh no, where do you think you lost it? We need to retrace your steps!"
"I think, I think I lost it right here and now."
"Then we can find it! It's in the car!"
"No, my friend, it's not lost, lost, it's...broken. Like...a dead battery."
"We need to go to store to get battery for you?" This from the three year old.
"No," I said, sadly, "I'm afraid it's not that easy for people."
Amazingly? The children bought this utterly. Somehow, they even got on some level that I was kidding. But it captured their fancies and thus ensued a more pleasant overall (because it was done without whining and crying) if completely bizarro discussion of how life would operate with mom in a sanatorium.
The kicker? Somehow, without any discussion? They had me in that insane asylum for the rest of my natural life. I even got to be buried there after I died. They promised to plant a memorial garden for me, and asked what's the bush with flowers I like called?
That? Is true love.
Buttercup: You can't hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords. (I did warn you about The Princess Bride.)
Later that night, after I plied my husband with a chili cheese dog (the outside did not taste of freeze, and I know someday he's going to lose patience with me that I sing that question to him every time) we spent a romantic, marriage bonding moment hovering over our three year old who was tantrumming so violently that we had her in a car seat for her own safety and were applying cool cloths to her head while stroking her hair and crooning calming words to her.
It only took an hour, that.
But I think couples need to spend that sort of quality, bonding time together, you know, for the sake of the relationship.
(As I wrote this, it struck me how women do not blog about marriage, how often it has been discussed that women do not blog about marriage, and how often men do blog about marriage. I stopped myself and thought and yes, it seems that male bloggers mention marriage in at least every other post. Hmm. Curious.)
Bonus points to you if you got that the title is a quote from Princess Bride, too.
Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
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