No one knows my moody, depressive persona better than my devoted husband. He’s witnessed my best and worst days. Together we make a passionate pair. At best, we are an invigorating couple full of creativity, promise and fulfillment. His talent combined with my ingenuity makes for a powerful team. At worst, we are arch rivals stubborn and self-righteous, nothing gets done.
Most times we end up somewhere in between these two extremes trying to find our way to the pinnacle of a true power couple. Like a see saw, when he’s on a high I’m down in the dumps. When my spirits are flying he doesn’t understand my vision. Up and down. Tug of war. Push and pull.
So as I navigate work and family during this lingering winter, I am holding dear to Mother Nature’s promise that brighter days are coming. It’s clear that my moods and stress mean misery for the whole family. But to get through it I have to succumb to something I don’t do well. Accepting help.
Long sigh. “I’m tired of this cold weather and snow. Did you hear it’s gonna snow again this weekend,” I say.
“It’ll be ok honey, it will get warmer eventually,” Kevin says trying to assure me. He sees the slowness of my movements and hears the desperation in my voice. Signs that misery is here. “You want me to cook dinner tonight,” he asks trying to still the waters before the storm.
“No I got it. I already took out some ground turkey to make tacos.” Sigh. “I have so much going on at work,” I say tensing up. Sigh.
“Taco Tuesday, right,” Kevin ignores my comment about work. “Do we have nacho chips,” he asks moving on to something that he can help with.
“The kids ate them over the weekend with my hummus. I didn’t even know they liked hummus. I bought it with pretzel chips and they ate those too,” I say agitated. Sigh. “I had planned on veg’ing out while I finished the second season of House Of Cards…now it’s all gone….so is House of Cards until season three,” my voice trails off. Sigh.
Kevin doesn’t really know how to respond but his desire, his commitment to love me when I need him most keeps him from just running for the door. “So how about if I run to the store to pick up some chips and hummus. Do we need anything else?”
“I think I should go,” I say quickly. “You don’t know the exact hummus brand I like and there are so many types of pretzel chips. I don’t know how to describe which flavor I like.”
We went back and forth for what felt like hours about who should go to the grocery store. Kevin eventually put his hands on my shoulders and stared into my eyes.
“Look honey,” he said. I turned my head, tears welling up. “Honey, look at me,” he pleaded. “I love you. I’m your husband and that means I am here to help you when you need it. Marriage is a give and take, a partnership. I’m not the most perfect husband but one thing I do have is love for you. Let me help where I can.”
I stared wide eyed at him, knowing that what he said was true. We do help each other in difficult times.
I slunk down into his arms.
“You’re right honey, you’re right,” I said.
Kevin left the house to get groceries from a list that had grown to about 30 items beyond the chips and hummus.
Within half hour Kevin called exasperated.
“Honey, did I leave the grocery list at home,” he asks.
“Yep, here it is on the kitchen table,” I say. “I’ll send you a picture of the list, ok?”
“That’ll work,” he says, relieved that he can still accomplish helping.
Fifteen minutes later… The phone rings.
“Hey honey,” Kevin says. “It says milk on the list. Do you mean milk for Buddy or soy milk for you?”
“I would get both,” I say. “We are both out of milk.”
We hang up.
Ten minutes later… The phone rings.
“Hey babe,” Kevin says. “What is ‘soup in a bag’?”
“Oh yeah, it’s the Campbell’s soup that comes in pouches. They have good flavors that I like. Nothing canned,” I say.
“What aisle is that in,” Kevin asks.
“The first one after the bread aisle,” I say.
“Ok, see you soon,” Kevin says and hangs up.
Half hour passes and the phone rings again.
“Honey, did I leave my wallet in my other jacket pocket,” Kevin asks.
“Yep, it’s right in the pocket,” I say. “You don’t have your ID or your debit card do you?”
Kevin sighs heavily. “No, and I’m standing here at the checkout counter with all of these groceries.”
“Hmmm,” I ponder. “Well did you take the other debit card I handed you?”
“Oh yeah,” Kevin cheers ups. “You’re right, I have it in my pants pocket. Thanks babe.”
We hang up.
Kevin finally makes it home with enough groceries for three months. Um…not sure what happened to the list but, anyway.
We celebrate taco Tuesday with nacho chips, pretzel chips, hummus and…not sure what kind of salsa that was.
No doubt I could have done the grocery shopping much better than Kevin, fewer items, less time, blah, blah, blah. But that isn’t the point. Learning to accept help even if it comes with less than perfection is what makes for a happier family.
So it goes…