The last two weeks of December, my husband had to take vacation. It was kind of a forced thing. Not bad, in fact, quite the opposite is true. You see, he has a strong work ethic and rarely gets sick. By the time the year comes to a close, he has vacation and sick time he hasn’t used, and there’s a use it or lose it policy.
For the second year in a row, he’s had to use his remaining vacation days during the last couple weeks. Last year, I appreciated him being home to help me survive the first couple weeks of our son’s life.
This year was a bit different though.
I might not have enjoyed his presence
His first couple days at home were a bit stressful for all of us. S was still in school and hubby isn’t at all accustomed to our day time schedule. Once I had S off to school and B down for his first nap of the day, I felt on edge about everything I was doing. And, to be frank, perturbed by being bothered. Not only do I never have my own schedule, I now also had my husband completely oblivious to my own unwritten schedules and habits during the little time I have without a kid needing me. If he wasn’t asking me to help with something, he was yapping in my ear.
When the baby was awake, I felt like I was limited to where I could be that wouldn’t bother my husband. Noise from the TV and my husband’s need for social interaction regularly broke my concentration from all sorts of work. Afternoons, which are my most difficult part of the day, were even more stressful with the additional person. All of the noise and neediness overwhelmed me!
But, after about a week, and once my daughter was no longer in school, I was so busy that everything kept me from what I needed. I could no longer place sole blame on my husband. There simply wasn’t a dull moment and hardly any time I could devote to a single project. Having two kids does that. His presence didn’t add any more stress or exhaustion than I was already experiencing.
The days flew by and, with the New Year, my husband returned to work. I wished we could have spent more quality time together, but that would have required shipping the kids off to a Grandparent. The thought crossed my mind, except, the holidays were kind of a problem. In some ways, though, I am relieved. I can look forward to getting back on a semi-recognizable schedule.
But, I admire my husband
Now that I look back on the time he had off, I can’t help but admire my husband. You see, in the two weeks he was home, I think he had one day that he almost got some rest.
Though I would have appreciated more help with the children (because being with them every day gets old), it’s not as though he was lazy. He spent his entire vacation working. Almost every day, he was outside cleaning the garage, working on a vehicle, or setting up the kids’ new outdoor play area and play set. If he wasn’t working, he was out gathering supplies so he could work.
He can spend an entire day outdoors doing manual labor, then come in and pick up the baby or semi-entertain the 5 year old. 30 minutes of manual labor could make me want to crawl into a hole and die. My husband, however, seems to not be phased.
In those two weeks, he took a nap once. ONCE. I wanted to nap for him a few times. The work he did exhausted me. Thinking about all the work he wanted to do made me want to cry. But him? He’s the Energizer Bunny.
I don’t know how he has the energy. Yes, I’m jealous. But, I’m so grateful that he takes care of everyone. He works hard, even on his days off, and rarely complains. I’m surprised at his ability to stay mostly upbeat and positive. And, that he continues to stay on the move as though he’s still in his twenties.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, not giving much thought to our feelings at the time. We’re perturbed, irritated, angered, happy, grateful … whatever it is, we feel in the moment. But, how often do we reflect on those moments or days and dig a little deeper. In this case, how can I see something in a better light? What seemed like a long vacation of annoyances was a chance for me to see, again, what a hard worker my husband is. And, a great reminder that he takes care of us as much as he takes care of himself.
Take a moment, today, to think about someone you admire. Bonus points for telling them how you feel!