The telltale signs are that I start retreating from the outside world - isolating myself by not answering my phone, not returning emails, canceling plans. And I start getting snippy at the Husband, unfairly finding fault with everything he does. And I cry. A lot. I really should recognize these things sooner than I do.
It all started a few weeks ago when I took on a job to try to make some extra bucks to make up for my lack of teaching income in the summer. Seemed like a good deal at the time - a good amount of money for only three days of work. But the lesson I've learned from this experience is that sometimes the benefit of adding dollars and cents to our bank account doesn't outweigh the toll it takes on the rest of our life. The casualties of those kind of decisions are the time that is taken from Baby Girl, the patience that is sucked out of the Husband, the kindness in a marriage that is squashed by stress.
Round about mid-week last week, the Husband and I, after several rounds of quarreling, entered into the final round of the match (what am I doing going with a boxing metaphor? I know nothing about boxing. Let's try something else...) Round about mid-week last week, the Husband and I, after taking several small bites out of the mounting tension, finally broke out the scoop and just ate straight out of the carton. (There we go. An ice cream metaphor. Now that's something I know something about!)
Forget the metaphors. What I'm trying to say is we fought a lot. And then one night, we fought about what all the little fights were actually about. We were both stressed, both busy, both mad, both felt unappreciated, both felt justified at being mad at one another (sound familiar?). The fight ended when I blamed Eric for stubbing my toe on Lila's toy piano which had been left out in the pitch black hallway outside her bedroom door. I complained pointedly that the piano had been left out to which he responded, "Are you blaming me?" to which I responded, "YES!" And he laughed an exhausted sort of laugh and muttered, "Everything is my fault isn't it?" And in my head I thought, "Of course it is!" and that's when I realized that I was being ridiculous and I needed to go to bed. So I did. But despite my unfair blame game, my sweet husband still kissed me goodnight with the disclaimer, "I know that we're not done fighting, but I may not see you tomorrow before you leave so...*kiss.*"
And I woke up the next morning with the realization that I had lost a lot more than I had gained in the last 10 days. This job had forced me to rearrange my weeks so that instead of working my usual spoiled two days a week (teaching on Tuesdays and snuggling Baby Ruby on Fridays), I had booked Lila's mommy and Eric's wife for four days a week (moved Baby Ruby to Monday, teaching on Tuesday, and airport driving - my temp job - Friday and Saturday). By Sunday, Lila was miserable and irritable and acting out because her world was all messed up, and both the Husband and I were spent.
The sad thing was we had one day of recovery and then it was back into week two of this craziness. But this week was a bit better because I think we learned from the week before. We named our stressors and asked for grace and patience from one another. I intentionally cleared my schedule for my days home with Lila so she got lots of Mommy Time. Plus there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Which brings me back to the first sentence of this post. I've been waiting for May 21st. Tomorrow marks the first day back into our normal life. And no one is allowed to mess with it, okay?
I dropped my last group off at the airport today and made a bee-line home to sweep my Baby Girl up in my arms and squeeze her. Her Pop had graciously given up yet another one of his sabbatical days to play with her and when I came home, this is what greeted me:
|Hey, Lila! You look a little lopsided there, girly.|
And then later tonight, I walked in the room to find this heart-melting scene happening:
|oh, a mama's heart just can't handle this kind of sweetness!|