Putting in the time

Gimli comes home tonight, and I feel weirdly ambivalent about it. I’ve missed him – tons – and the kids have too, they’re beyond excited that we’re all going to the airport tonight to pick him up (otherwise he’d walk into the house right at bedtime which is a recipe for disaster. I’d rather we go, get the energy and excitement out, lull them down on the drive back home, then all unwind and go to bed together even if it’s late). 

At the same time, we’ve achieved a peaceful balance in the last 4-5 days, in terms of sleep as well as all our other routines, and part of me is loathe to upset that with the incursion of all this masculine energy that he brings. I’ve noticed before that I’m a little more tense and stressed when he’s around and we’re trying to parent together – and I think I understand some of what’s going on there – but that doesn’t mean I’ve totally figured out how to dampen it. 

And I’m insanely jealous of the experiences he’s had on this last trip. Last night he visited Bethlehem, and I’m like what? You can go there? Without walking through a wardrobe or something? It seems that unreal to me. 

And then Monday we’ve set aside the day to do a personal retreat, the two of us – he’s going to call in sick, and we’re going to go up a mountain and seriously talk through all this life-planning indecision that we’ve been processing since March. Initially I was really excited about this, now the thought of hashing all this stuff through just makes me feel tired. I compiled all the emails we’ve exchanged in the past three months on the subject into a single Word document, and it’s 30 pages long. It’s actually been a really good process for both of us individually and for our marriage, for articulating who we are and what we want – but there are some points of tension that seem irreconcilable to me. So I’m apprehensive about that. 

And I have an e-mail sitting in my inbox from one of my dissertation committee members, that I haven’t been able to bring myself to open. I feel my academic self slipping away. Organizing and reviewing my data is taking so much longer than I expected – I really can’t see how it could be humanly possible to finish this given the constraints I have. Well, it would mean giving up things I’m not sure I want to give up (specifically, time with my children). I can see the shape of the project emerging somewhat amorphously in my mind – but the distance that exists between where I am now and where I need to be in order to really hammer it into its final form? Feels so close to infinite it may as well be. 

So today I’m dancing around it all, performing perfunctory tasks, putting in the time. 

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7 Responses to “Putting in the time”

  1. Esperanza Says:

    I also notice tension when MV and I try to parent together. We just do it so infrequently and we have such different ways of approaching things and since I’m with her more and have more experience with discipline and child behavior stuff I assume my way is “right” or “better” and it gets bad pretty quickly. We have so little free time and spend at least one whole weekend day solo parenting to give the other person time and in the end we just don’t get to practice co-parenting much and we’re not very good at it.

    Good luck hashing out all the big questions. MV and I have spent many hours in counseling trying to reconcile seemingly irreconcilable differences. It’s not easy but it can be done, at least usually it can, I’d people want to stay together. I hope you find your answers.

  2. Lori Lavender Luz Says:

    My husband is getting back from awhile away tonight, too, and I am preparing for the change in dynamics that happens both when he leaves and when he comes back. Your plan for the reunion (going to the airport before bedtime) sounds like a good one to me!

    May your project begin to coalesce. I think your field is fascinating and in another life I might have explored it.

    And thank you for your thoughtful comment on my post today 😉

  3. tara Says:

    i hope the big talk went well. hugs!

  4. DandelionBreeze Says:

    Thinking of you as he arrives home… and you spend time together on your personal retreat. Hope it brings some peace. Love to you always xoxo

  5. KeAnne Says:

    How did the retreat go? Were you able to make any decisions? My husband sleeps later than I do, so on weekends I am the solo parent for several hours. It’s always been like that. As a result, I feel some of that same tension when he is up and parenting at the same time.

    • Elizabeth Says:

      Thanks for asking and checking in! It was good, I think. There will always be differences in how we conceptualize the world and our place in it – but I think we negotiated something that will work for both of us in the long term.

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