So the thing about teamwork is, it really is a group effort. Every part is important. If the team is two, the work is even more concentrated and the two efforts are each bigger to make up the collective whole.
I’m thinking about teamwork in marriage right now, if that isn’t already clear, because I tend to do this terrible thing in our marriage where I forget we’re both doing important things. Because the thing about teamwork is, if you look at what one person is doing for a really long time, you realize just how big and important that piece is. I naturally see my efforts for the whole since I’m the one doing them. I don’t have to work hard to see how vital my contribution is. When I’m tired, I feel validated in my efforts. When I’m exhausted, I can get that sneaking suspicion that maybe my efforts are so big, in fact, that they are the whole and not just a piece. I can forget all about any of the ways my husband is sacrificing and learning and earning and tired.
He just went to bed. I’m not as tired, maybe because I’m not the one who has to be somewhere by 7:30 at the very latest every day of the workweek. I remember my first real job. I thought full-time jobs were from 9-5 since that’s what everyone always says. But actually, if a person needs to clock 40 actual hours and takes a lunch break, work has to start by 8 in order to be done by 5. Those were long days, and I was sitting down for most of them. In college, the 8am classes were just the worst. It was almost impossible to get out of bed that early, much less shower and eat breakfast. Forget it. So now I have this cushy job where my alarm clock is a 2-year-old and I can take lunch whenever I feel like it. Not that lunch is much of a break, but nap time certainly is.
I digress. What I’m meaning to say is that my husband is a rockstar who wakes up incredibly early every day without complaining, without even making a big deal about it, and works at a job where people’s health and often lives are on the line, and comes home smiling. And somehow in this equation, at the end of a long Thursday for him and a day for me that involved multiple cartoons, some emailing, online shopping, and finger-painting, I found myself feeling sorry for: me.
Because I have that affliction I told you about earlier, where I focus so much on my part that I forget about the other, the one who collapsed in bed at 9, tired and discouraged (tired from work, discouraged from me), and has to do it all again tomorrow.
So I sat down to write this because I desperately want to do better. I don’t want to demoralize my teammate, because we’d be sunk without him. When I stop staring at my little contribution to the whole, when I stop to think about just how much of the weight he’s pulling for our little team, I become grateful. I need him; we need each other. That’s the thing about teamwork.