The Up and Down Weekend

24 Mar

To listen along, click here:

I’m about to write something I rarely write or even think. This weekend sucked; well, parts of it did. All three of my boys, at two different colleges and one still in high school, had the weekend off for spring break, although one was on his way back to campus from Florida and could only stay for a night or two, but having my boys home at the same time is always a treat. I was invited to a shower, and I hadn’t seen most of the people there for years so it was a great time to catch up. I had dinner with some of my high school friends, two of whom I hadn’t spent time with in about five years. It should have been one of my best weekends in a long time, and in some ways it was, but in other ways, it was the worst weekend I had been through because my husband and I are out of sync. It hurts to type that, but it’s true. It happens now and then and we both hate it, but I’ve learned that we can come through it stronger when we both let go of what we think should have happened and move on with a new plan and a renewed spirit. The monkey wrench in the works this week is that I’m preparing for Easter and he’s out of town. We can’t look each other in the eye and hold hands and hug it out like we usually do. What we’re left with is email and texts and phone calls that can only happen after work because he is on site and can’t just casually disappear for an hour at lunch. I’ve been grousing about is all day in my head, and I have been to some pretty ugly and dark corners. Part of me wants to forgive everything and just go on pretending everything will be fine, but the wiser part of me knows that we need to talk this one out because if we just let it slide, it will keep happening until we address the real issues. What are the real issues? I think that depends on which one of us you talk to. From his perspective, he feels like he is trying to do everything that he can to make me happy. He just wants me to tell him what to do, and he will do it. He assures me that as I come close to finishing my next book and creating a coaching program that he and the boys will step up and do whatever needs to be done, and I am hopeful that they will do exactly what he promises, until Saturday happened.

Admittedly, I made most of the mess that I left in the kitchen, but my husband assured me that he would take care of the dishes. I also left a load of whites in the dryer and asked him to get them out, and he assured me he would take care of that as well. He also had planned to work in the basement because Easter is early, and we host 40-60 people, and if it’s cold and rainy, we need somewhere to put everyone, including the basement. I’ve been asking since December for my guys to clean up the basement. I’ve done pretty much as much as I can on my own and need their input and muscle to get the rest of the basement usable and safe for younger children. All four of my guys are wood workers and we have a decent set of power tools and machines to make their projects easier. Did I mention I’ve been asking since December for 15 minutes per week? On Saturday, it wasn’t finished, not even close, and I had done most of it. My husband had golf plans on Sunday and was leaving town on Monday, not returning until Wednesday, after garbage had been picked up for the week. Doesn’t sound like a big deal but since we fill the garbage can on Easter Sunday, its best if we don’t fill it beforehand. So, on Saturday evening, when I got home, there were clean dishes in the dishwasher, but the table was still a mess with dirty ones. The laundry was out of the dryer but was still in the basket unfolded, and the basement was still far from being finished. I was hurt. I was angry, and I felt betrayed.

That might sound like a strong reaction to one day, but as I thought about it, I realized it was the symptom of a much bigger issue between my husband and me. When I wrote my first book, we both had to face so many fears. What should have taken a few months ended up taking two years. This time it’s taken me a much shorter time to finish a book, but I’m also creating a coaching course to go along with the book. It’s a much bigger endeavor, and it requires so much more of my time and effort. I am in a constant battle of what needs my attention most: my home, my family or my work. I have worked for twenty years to have a family and home I’m proud of, but I am feeling called to do this work. My family is very encouraging and tells me often that they will be happy to step up, but we’ve gotten into an unhealthy pattern. I ask, and they ignore me until I scream, yell or become so angry, they look at me like I’m a lunatic and figure they better comply before I go completely mental. I’ve been aware of it for years with my children, and for the most part, we’ve gotten passed it. I actually tell them that I would really appreciate it if they would comply before I turn into a raving lunatic, and they get the message. It isn’t threatening; it’s just a realization that doing what’s being asked is easier on all of us, especially since I take great steps to give an appropriate amount of time to do the task and make the task reasonable. If it doesn’t happen, though, at some point you have to call the person out or do it yourself. That’s when things went wrong for us this weekend. I called my husband out when we were both tired and under-slept, so neither of us was in a reasonable mood, the evening ended badly, and the next day didn’t go well either. Now, he’s hundreds of miles away.

This morning I read a blog post of a fellow mom blogger, and it’s amazing how reading someone else’s perspective can change yours. Her blog post, Nest Stress, got to me in a strange way. When I read her post, I realized we were having our own version of nest stress, and we have to be careful not to knock over the rocking nest. It has rocked before and it will probably rock again, but right now we’re trying to steady the wobble so we can enjoy this week of spring break and get ready for Easter with less and less stress. That was goal three months ago and is still the goal today; make progress and enjoy the process as much as possible. Today my kids pitched in, on order from their dad. We made progress. I don’t know how much they enjoyed it, but I think they’re proud of what we accomplished. I’m slowly on the mend from this weekend and I hope my husband is too. I wish he was here so we could work this out. I wish it wasn’t so exhausting. I wish I had a magic wand that could make it all happen without effort, but it’s bringing clarity to so many things that I may yet find a blessing and a miracle somewhere in the mess. My husband has apologized by email. I haven’t yet replied because this blog post will be my reply. I’ll get his input, and perhaps post a follow up before I even post the original. Perhaps this blog post will never see the light of day other than in his inbox, but I felt compelled to write about it to process my own anger and frustration and figure out the next best steps to take. I want to finish the book. I want to make my family proud. I want my family to step up, and I want us all to have the best spring break and Easter possible. As an eternal optimist, I believe that can happen, and being that it’s Holy Week, I can think of no better time for a miracle. So that’s what’s happening in my corner of the world. I hope your weekend was better than mine, and I hope we all have an amazing Easter weekend however we choose to celebrate or not.

Postscript – The hubs and I talked and more importantly, we listened. Isn’t rainbows and unicorns, but it’s better, much better. We are moving forward with a better understanding of each other, where we think our lives are headed and what got us out of sync in the first place. I am grateful for a man who is willing to listen and to talk and for a blog post that helped me get passed my own nest stress. Thanks for being you and have a great day!


2 Responses to “The Up and Down Weekend”

  1. Paleo/Primal Ireland (@PaleoIrish) March 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

    Wow Karen, fair play to you guys for working on the issues and getting some good listening going on. I can clearly hear the frustration you felt and admire you both for not pretending that it was all going to go away, facing it and talking it through is powerful although it’s also so challenging that it is often tempting to let it go.

    I hope you and your family have a lovely Easter celebration with your guests 🙂

    • karenbemmes March 25, 2016 at 4:11 am #

      Thank you. Happy Easter to you and yours as well.

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