It has been fifty-four days since my husband has taken a full day off of work. It isn’t the sit-behind-your-desk or hide-inside-a-cubicle sort of work either. It is demanding and physical, resulting in weight loss and fatigue. He has probably lost about twenty-five pounds, and anyone who sees him this time of year notes how tired he looks. He is tired…and skinny. It has started to take a toll on him.
As his wife, I feel a sense of responsibility for his well-being. “Have you eaten today?” “Can you get home to get a nap?” “Here is a gift of a massage…will you please go do it?” I want so badly to wave my magic wand and turn his dirty t-shirts into white-collared business attire. That might mean a five-day-a-week schedule, a steady paycheck, regular weekends and a well-rested husband. A girl can dream, right?
I know to my core, that even if I could change the color of his collar, I couldn’t change the worker inside. My husband loves to work with his hands. He uses his down time (at our cabin) to build things and renovate. He enjoys the rigor of his job and the variety of the tasks. What drives him hardest is the fact that working like this through the summer affords him the opportunity to do what he loves more than anything in this world: to coach hockey.
He’s not a cubicle kid, and he wants to use his suit and tie money to buy the color-coordinated ensembles he can wear standing behind the bench. It is not my right to deny him that. It is what breathes life back in to him after he lays limp at the end of the summer. I support him the only way I know how. I shuttle kids from here to there. I plan excursions and soothe frustrations. I distract the kids and count with them the days until he can rest with him.
I took the girls to see Ramona and Beezus as part of my distraction technique yesterday. I cried in so many places in the movie, and for completely different reasons. There was a part in the movie where the dad explains how he was forced to take a “real” job after his kids were born so that he could support the family. His passion for art was not a feasible means to an end. The dad in our house has the same problem. He has a passion that could not support our family of five right now, and he is married to a woman who wants nothing more than to write for peanuts. Maybe I should don the white collar…and give him a chance to rest for a while? I don’t know whether we need a white collar in the house, or just some centering to get us back on a track with what works for everyone.
It’s all still a work…in progress.