Friday, July 29, 2011

How Much We Give Away, the Marrriage

I have always been a “closet” writer.  I write everything.  I love to journal, I love to write my thoughts and feelings at the moment or look back on an event and write what I think about it now. And one of the things I’ve taken up recently is writing quotes in a mini journal that I have.  One of the most recent quotes I found that I absolutely love and describes how I feel perfectly is:

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away”
                                                --Barbara DeAngelis

Spot on!!  Le pegaste al clavo!!  (You hit the nail on the head)And it doesn’t only describe me.  It describes every woman out there!!

So, that started me thinking about how much of myself I give away on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis.  And honestly, I don’t know how there’s any of me left!!  I think the fairer question is “How much don’t I give away?!”  I’m gonna take you on a trip with me and I’m sure most of you will relate to my story.

I’m not going to pretend that my childhood was sad and difficult.  It wasn't and neither were my teenage years.  They were pretty quiet and uneventful.  I am an only child and my childhood was pretty boring or average and any boyfriends I had were not serious until I met my now husband.  So, before marriage, I didn’t give away too much of myself.  But after marriage, boy did that change!  I wasn’t just responsible for myself anymore, now I was also responsible for my husband, too.  

Now, ladies, please think about this:  If you were to leave on vacation, today,  for a week, without any warning, just a note that says "See you in a week, have fun, don't tie up the kids, don't burn down the house", would your husband survive in one piece and with all his sanity? Don't try to be nice and give him the benefit of the doubt.  Be honest.  Don’t pretend that your husband is a man who can take care of himself.  He can’t. My husband asks me on a DAILY basis, after he takes a shower, where his dirty clothes should go.  My response?: "????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  and I know, chicas, that you know exactly what facial expression goes with this response because I'm sure you've used it before.  

We've been married 12 years.  The dirty clothes go in the basket that has been in the same place for 6 years (that's how long we've had our home).  The answer never changes but he still asks me.  And it never ceases to amaze me that he still asks.  And then I ask myself why am I amazed every time he asks?  I know he's going to ask.  I know what it is!!!  It's because God made me in such a way that I block out the fact that he asked me yesterday so that today won't be the day I throw the basket at him.  It's sort of like the pain of childbirth.  You felt the pain while in the process but as soon as that baby popped out you can't remember all the screaming agony.  Which is why two years later you're doing it again.  Must be some sort of survival mechanism . . .  for the husband and kids.

When I first met my husband he shared an apartment with a couple of roommates.  He was definitely the most responsible.  He was independent.  His mama raised him right.  He cooked for his roommates (they paid him, of course), and he was the tidiest man I knew.  He lived by “a place for everything and everything in its place” *cough* anal.  I’m sorry, had to clear my throat.  He cooked, he cleaned, he was tidy.  He was perfect.  Was being the operative word. 

I think that as soon as the words “I do” came out his mouth some sort of mechanism clicked in his brain that rendered him unable to perform those chores.  I think his brain gradually started playing “It Takes a Woman”, you know, the song Mr. Horace Vandergelder sings at the beginning of “Hello, Dolly” and everything slowly started shutting down.  

I think this happens on every man’s wedding day.  I'm pretty sure that if I go watch my wedding video (yes, video, no DVD) I can literally see his eyes glazing over as the process takes place.  I'm hoping it's an involuntary reaction because if I ever find out that he makes a conscious choice not to help me I might have to tie him up and use his head as a bongo drum (I love you, honey).  

Now, let me clarify, he can still do those things.  He has the ability just not the inclination.  He leaves it to me and on those rare days when he does help it’s like the heavens open up and I can hear the heavenly choir.  And the even better part is when he does help me, I'm GRATEFUL!!  Que que?!!!  When did I go from that idealistic young girl who swore that the man she married would be her equal partner to "OMG honey, thank you so much for helping me, I really appreciate it!"  Ugh, I'm not going to delve into that particular conundrum because my head might explode.  Taking care of a man is such hard work.

Stay tuned for part two of this series: How Much We Give Away, the Kids

**No husband was harmed in the making of this post.

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