David and I had an argument last night. Is that a taboo topic? Well, not here. There certainly are things I wouldn’t write about here, but apparently this isn’t one of them. So.
It was Labor Day, and thanks to the fact that he’s on a clinic month (in residency), he was actually home all day! It was a much-needed holiday for all of us. Ever since we got back from vacation almost a month ago, David has been on call every Sunday. Every single one. Now, call isn’t so bad sometimes, especially when it’s a weeknight. Then he just has to answer the phone or maybe go to the hospital to admit a patient here and there. But weekend call is all day long, 24 hours starting at 7am. The reason he had so many weekend calls is that lots of residents were gone in August, and David would remind me that him taking those call days was really great for other people. It meant no one had to do what they call “Q2 call,” or two days of call out of three. Anyway. As much as I want to do nice things for other people, sometimes enough is enough and I just want to have two days in a row with my husband in them. Is that too much to ask?
On the heels of all these 6-day workweeks is Labor Day. Naturally he worked all day long on Sunday, so it was especially grand that he was going to be home all day on Monday. We had plans! We were going to get a lot of great things done! When I asked what he wanted to do with the day, he told me: let’s have a planning and organizing day. What are we going to organize, I wanted to know. Everything, he told me. Now, you may not realize this, but these are not words he says often. Like, almost ever. I am always the one with the idea to clean/organize/plan our life, and he is the one who would rather be exploring new music, reading Wired magazine, and happily stumbling across the next great idea. I wasn’t sure what made him want to do this with our Labor Day, but I was excited!
So Monday. I told you call lasts 24 hours, which took him to 7am on Monday. Now, if nothing is happening doctor-wise, he can sleep, but as fate would have it he was up half the night at the hospital. Come Monday morning at regular-people hours, he was too tired to get out of bed. I am such a nice wife that I got up with the kids and kept them very quiet until 11am. I even made something he loves for breakfast to greet him with when he finally woke up. After that, it was business time!
You can imagine that maybe things didn’t go quite how we planned. Things just take extra-long when you have to stop and nurse a baby and also keep a toddler entertained/entertaining himself. Add to this that David isn’t really used to that life. I do it every day, so I am good at squeezing productivity into the spaces between diapers and nursing. By the time the kids were in bed for the night, we had checked almost nothing off our list. Even worse, we hadn’t come up with a real list to check! In my world, it had been a disaster of a “planning day,” and had also failed at being fun. At least we’d had hamburgers for dinner, so it felt like a Labor Day in that sense. But in every other way, it was a terrible disappointment to me.
What’s sad, as I think about it, is that my expectations for this day made me incapable of enjoying the actual day we had. I was with my beloved huz the whole day, minus the 20 minutes he went to the store to get something I asked him to buy. We were all together, all four of us. The kids took good naps, and the baby even had a milestone: we fed her solid food for the first time.
So why the meltdown at 10pm? There’s just something about that time of night. If productivity hasn’t happened by then (in my world), it seems like the point of no return. Too late to salvage a day, but still early enough to throw a fit about it. I’m not even sure what all I said about my disappointment, but I do know: my mild, soft-spoken husband finished it off by shouting: I AM SO DISCOURAGED. It wasn’t so much shouted at me as about me. I had discouraged him. He was demoralized, and it was my fault.
I’m hoping as I type that some great “moral to the story” is going to tap out of my fingers. Like magic, I will see right where I erred and then be transported to a place I can actually do something about it. That’s the rough part. I’m not sure there is any redemption to be had in yesterday. But there is this: I love my husband, and I hate having arguments. I hate driving him to the point of shouting. But I also don’t want to pretend it never happens. If it really didn’t, that would be great. Then I could both not talk about it and have it be true. But the reality is we don’t see perfectly eye-to-eye. In fact, last night I told him there was no one else on earth more opposite me than him (which isn’t true, by the way). This is a funny thing since we thought we were exactly alike before we got married. I guess the point is that we’re learning and becoming better at communication. Our struggle-times are far less frequent now, not so much because we have fewer things to disagree on but more because we’re learning to love each other in ways that count. And let me tell you, when I look back at days like yesterday, I’m not glad I’ve spoken my mind or found just the right words to express my own disappointment. I wish I could go back and love my guts out. That sounds gross, but it’s true. And maybe that’s how I’ll feel at the end of life, too. Not happy for the times I sat on the sidelines or napped through another day but grateful for the moments/days/years when I did the hard things, swallowed my words, and loved.