Friday, July 18, 2008

The Me of We

When my husband and I first got engaged we were wrapped up in planning and getting ready and registering. I was an excited bride to be and I loved all of the excitement.

I was very centered on me and how this was my wedding and my registry and my planning.

My mom pulled me aside one day and straightened me out. Shook me out. This wasn't just about me. There was no more I or me. There was we. There was our wedding and our day and our registry and most importantly our marriage. There was I and there was the husband and we were individuals but we were together now. She wasn't talking about abandoning myself and my identity but rather recognizing that I needed to learn how to be a me within a we.

That day, for the most part, the me and I talk ended.

Today, the boy got his first "real" bike. It has training wheels. It is not a trike. It is not primarily plastic. It is a bike.

My parents bought him the bike and my dad and I put it together at their house and the boy tested it out there, too. It was nice. I loved seeing how happy he was. I loved that he rode his first bike on the street where I grew up. I even teared up a little bit.

I hated that my husband was not there.

My husband works very hard. He works two jobs to help us attempt to make ends come closer to almost meeting. He works late nights. He works weekends. He is no different than some of your husbands or some of you who work just as much, or more! As a result of all of his work he sometimes misses out on things. As a result of his work sometimes a lot of things fall on to my shoulders.

Today, I used the words I and my and me more than I have in a really long time!

I talked with my dad about my toilets leaking. I talked with him about my prospective trip to Lowes or Home Depot to fix my leaking toilets. I talked with my mom about what I needed to pack for my vacation. I put together my son's bike. I took pictures as my son rode his bike for the first time. I complained about my bills and my dissatisfaction with housing in NJ.

Everything was about me. And it wasn't.

I'm not upset because I have to go to Lowes and deal with the toilets. I'm not upset that I'm packing for the FAMILY vacation. I'm not upset that my dad and I put together the boy's bike or that I took pictures. I'm not upset about it for the reasons you may think.

I'm upset because my husband did not get to experience it.

I LOVE that I have pictures of my dad holding the back of the boy's bike as he rode down the street. I'm pretty sure we have a picture where I'm on the bike and my dad is behind me.

I'm perfectly fine with the fact that tomorrow the kids and I are hitting Lowes and getting us some new toilet parts.

What I'm upset about is that tonight, when my husband came home and sat down to do school work, I had to show him pictures of the first time his son rode on a bike. I had to regale him with stories of the day that he wasn't a part of because he was working.

I felt bad for him.

I felt like we were back in the beginning days of our engagement where everything exciting was happening but I was focused on the me of it all and not the we.

Should I have waited to put together the bike? Maybe but maybe not.

The boy still needs to learn how to ride a two wheeler. The girl still needs to learn how to ride a bike, period.

Should I let my husband handle the toilet issues? I could but then we'd still be paying out the ass for water and we'd only be working off of one toilet!

He'll get to install the new mechanisms all on his own.

Should I allow the vacation packing and getting ready to fall on him?

No. End of story on that one.

Today was not an intentional slight towards my husband on my part and I don't think he even batted an eye when I told him everything. He certainly did not say anything about missing out. I just felt bad when I shared this milestone with him. Kind of like when I called him at work one night to tell him the boy had taken his first steps. THAT did not go over well! Luckily, Dada was his first word!

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes I feel bad for the husband. He enjoys his work. He loves his family. Most days he would rather be home with us and experiencing all of this but he works very hard to make new toilet parts and a home in NJ possible. He sacrifices a lot of his me and I things and time for we time. And for that I am grateful.

I am also grateful that he gets to stick his hands in two of our three toilet tanks and fix them and then replace our shower heads and faucets! (See how I used the OUR there and not the MY!)


lattemommy said...

It's hard, isn't it, to have a husband who works long hours. I have one of those. He misses out on a lot, and he totally hates it. However, he's glad that one of us is there to experience the moments of our childrens' lives, both extraordinary and mundane. If I had stayed in my job our children would have been raised by a nanny, and then no one would be happy.

He hates that he's not around a lot, but he tries very hard to make the most of the time he has with us. And I'm sure your husband does the same. Sometimes life just isn't totally fair, but we all make the best out of it. Resilience is part of being human.

HRD said...

"....I needed to learn how to be a me within a we."

My favorite line.. very good point.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

I also have one of those that work a lot. We try and make sure that he is there for most of the things that he can.
What I find hard is living away from all our family and having the Grandparents and Uncles missing out on it all. I'm tired of telling my parents what our son is doing over the phone or emailing them the video. I want them to experience first hand!!!

Dirty said...

Preach it, sister! Hardworking husbands are a mixed blessing- great for all they do for the family, sad for all they miss with the family.

Kelley said...

That was a brilliant post babe, and made me stop and think.

You are awesome. Both of you ;)

lauralovesart said...

I totally get how you are feeling. You are doing your best. You can fix that toilet. I've done it all. And it feels great afterwards! Plumbing is pretty easy(i wouldn't do electrical, though changing a fuse is easy), ask questions of the people at lowe's...though i usually go to ACE hardware. Sounds like your husband had a lot on his plate trying to make a better life for all of you, what a sweet guy!

Rick said...

Very good post. It's a lot of work runnig a household. Hang in there, and just love each other.

rockanddrool said...

i'm grateful that i have my husband around to experience all the firsts. actually...he's the one who taught them to ride bikes, swim...etc...
but, i TOTALLY get it. it sometimes feels like the weight of the family falls on the womans shoulders and it's not easy to deal with!! and it's hard to remember who "me" is...
especially when the "we" is more than 2 people...
excellent post!!! truly!!
and...totally rooming next year!!

Girl said...

Your post made me chocked up a little. I am so sorry he had to miss it. Sometimes it's just unfair.Much love to you... you're a good me.

Momo Fali said...

My husband works ALL THE TIME, but I let him teach the kids how to ride their two-wheel bikes. I save the big stuff for him, while I deal with the day in and day out.

Suzie said...

But you also need to take the time to appreciate the I. Boy you do a lot. Doing all this without the hubby is really hard. He may work late but you are always working kids raising is really hard work. Three cheers for you.

LaskiGal said...

Wow. What a huge challenge. I'm still trying to figure out the whole me and we thing.

He sounds like quite a guy . . . and with your spirit and his tenacity, there is no doubt it'll all come together and you'll have some major WE time.

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