"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Plank Pullin': The guy who puts up with me

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye.

I have a husband.  I don't know if you knew that, but I do.

I don't post about him nearly as often as the kids, and if you're my friend on Facebook, you won't find me doing a lot of gushing about him, OR complaining about him in my status updates .... mainly because I think the former is a little weird (I tell him I love him; why would I feel the need to announce it to everyone else?), and I think the latter is just inappropriate, and well... mean... whether the poster is doing it about a spouse, a child, or a friend. 

But I do have one.  And [prepare yourself for some unprecedented gushing] I think he's pretty darn terrific.  Terrific partner, terrific father, terrific friend.  So what I'm wondering, as I pull this enormous plank from my eye, is:

Why don't I appreciate him the way that I should?

Mike and I very rarely fight.  Very. Rarely. But when we do (in our typical, get all grumbly and huffy and pouty with each other fashion, until one of us decides to be a grownup and actually talk about it) it's essentially the same fight dressed in different clothes, over and over.  I feel like you don't appreciate me.  I take care of the kids all day and the house and the laundry and the bathrooms and the floors and the animals and the errands and the appointments and I'm TIRED.... and blah, blah, blah.  I just want to be appreciated. 

But you know what?  He gets up at 5:30 every morning, while we're all still in bed.  He commutes an hour and a half, twice a day, on public transportation.  To a job that he sometimes likes, but one that leaves him sitting behind a desk all day when he would much rather be outside.   He comes home tired, and knowing that I'm tired too, often makes dinner and does the dishes.   He gets the girl into her pajamas.  He takes care of the yard, and our cars, and takes out the trash.   He deals with the complicated phone calls involving things like insurance claims and interest rates and repairmen because he knows I don't like to do it.

And he does it all because he appreciates us. 

The other morning, I was picking up and wiping down the kitchen.  Mike had made dinner the night before, and he'd run the dishwasher.  But the counters were still covered with... stuff.  They were dirty and cluttered, and there were gooey, un-rinsed black bean cans by the sink.  I instantly went into sighing, huffy, why can't he appreciate me and my time mode and started to rinse out the cans.  And in the span of the 30 seconds it took me to walk them from the kitchen to the pantry to put them in the recycle bin, it hit me.  It hit me in a shame-filled, plank-pullin' epiphany. 

It was not about him, it was about me.  Me and my stubborn, non-appreciative, self-centered stinking thinking.  I was stressing out about a few bean cans that took me all of 18 seconds to rinse out?  When he'd cooked us all a nice dinner, after a long day at work?  What was wrong with me?  Why on earth wouldn't I just rinse them out happily, in appreciation for what he did do - and continues to do - for us, that night and every night.   Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn't that he doesn't appreciate me.... but rather that I could do a whole lot better at appreciating him

And now I will. 

Because I really do kind of love him.

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