Archive of ‘marriage’ category

But did I ask…

I have a lot of really strong, legit girlfriends. They all serve different “friend” purposes in my life. I have the one who strengthens my relationship with God. I have the one who listens every time I need to cry. I have the one who calls me on my BS. I have the one who makes me feel better about eating massive amounts of carbs by eating massive amounts of carbs with me…
One day in particular I was feeling really frustrated when my husband didn’t seem appreciative of anything I was doing. And I was doing EVERYTHING. I knew that I could go to my “I need to cry” friend, but that I wasn’t actually going to solve the problem by crying. I also knew that carbs would feel good but…
I called my “no BS” friend and explained the situation to her. And she asked me something that changed my life.
“But did he ask you, though?”
“Did he ask me what?”
“Did he ask you to do all of that stuff you’re doing and not being appreciated for?”
“NO! But if I didn’t do it, no one else would have!”
“Right, but you’re the one who wanted it done. Did he want it done?”
“Well, I mean I assume he wants clean clothes.”
“But does he know how to work the washer and dryer?”
“Then if you DON’T do those things, he can. He knows how. And I don’t get the sense that he would resent you if you didn’t do them. So you’re actually upset that he’s not appreciating the things that you chose and wanted to do.”

Well. Damn.

While I don’t think that conversation in any way exonerates us or our partners from showing appreciation for each other (I think that’s the foundation of any partnership and means the most to some of us), it did get me thinking about how many times I make moves based on what I think other people need.

Then it made me think about the people who make moves based on what THEY think that I need. Oh my GOD is that annoying.
Like when you tell someone about a situation you’re in and they offer advice without you ever asking. If you’re me, then you’re taking the advice thinking that you did ask for it and trying to apply it when you never actually did ask for it, nor did you want it, but still you’re new focus becomes applying someone else’s opinion.

(Do you do this? Do you give advice even when no one asks for it?! STOP IT!)

I guess the point is to mind your own business, and that really means mind your own feelings. If you’re getting opinions you didn’t ask for, consider them to be worth what you paid for them. Also re-consider going to that part particular opinion-giving person the next time you have a problem.
If you’re feeling unappreciated, first check to see if you’re seeking appreciation for things that no one asked you to do. Then, if you are, tell the people around you that you’d like appreciation for those things so they know! It’s their choice whether or not they show you appreciation after that and, if they don’t, you get to decide if they stay or go, if you continue doing what you’re not being appreciated for, and if YOU stay or go.

If you don’t want to do those things you’re not getting appreciated for, then do what I did: teach your kids how to do their own laundry.

Aaaaand Cancer – Part 1

I mentioned in a recent blog that some things went down this past summer that changed me. There were a lot of positive changes, but some others that knocked me completely off my grid.

Contrary to most gynecologists, mine is amazing. She sits down and has normal conversations with me despite my wearing only paper, and while she’s examining me she asks about my son and my family and how writing is going. It’s more like going to see a friend who just happens to own and operate a speculum and stirrups…

I was specifically excited to see her this time because after Bear started his own business, I freaked the heck out. Not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from after getting married several weeks prior only leaves room for stress-eating and chronic bathroom cabinet reorganization. My gyno is always willing to offer me advice on supplements and even Big Pharma, as I’ve been through depression enough times to know when I’m in trouble and I need to head it off at the pass.
We had a nice conversation about it and she suggested some options outside of pharma to start with since we were catching this bought early, but assured me that if I needed an anti-depressant she would gladly prescribe one. She went on with my exam, telling me everything appeared normal and healthy (as it always has). Before she left, she did a quick breast exam, and while she did I told her that my ribs always tripped me up on self-exams. “This side especially…I always feel my rib and think it’s a lump.”
“Where?” she asked me.
“Right here,” I chuckled. “It’s nothing, it’s my rib, but I always freak myself out.”
“Right here?” she asked again. She pushed and poked a few times in the same spot.
No. Not right there.
“Actually, no it’s further back than that…”
“Well, I feel something right here…”
And suddenly, depression became far less of an issue. The room’s corners and edges got all rounded and dark; my gynecologist’s words began streaming at me in a straight line, right between my eyes. My brain repeated, “Lumplumplumplumplump…”
“It’s not an immediate concern, but I do want you to get a mammogram sooner than later.”
A mammogram. I’ve never had one of those. I had an ultrasound once, but never a mammogram. How do I do that where do I do that why do I have to do that.
“I’ll get you a prescription for an ultrasound and once your insurance approves it, you can come back in and they’ll do it in this same building.”
“Same building…”
“It’ll only take about 45 minutes start to finish…”
“Start to finish…”
“I’m not real worried about this, Erin, but I don’t want to miss something…”

I began by telling her my husband started his own business and how worried I was about paying our mortgage and I ended the appointment collecting insurance paperwork and appointment documents to check and see if I had cancer.
From new business to cancer.
Who cares if I can’t pay my mortgage when I’m dead…

Get it?

Get it?

I immediately drove to our local bar and grille where I’d celebrated my best friend’s cancer-free diagnosis almost three years prior (after her own surgery and radiation treatment). We ran around the bar screaming, “Cancer-freeeeee!” and tons of people bought us shots in honor of those they’d lost to cancer. It was the greatest night.
I couldn’t think of where else to go. I ordered a beer and sat outside and texted both her and another friend.
They came running. And I mean literally…running.
One of them immediately raised up my arm in the middle of the bar to feel the lump while the other one looked at me with kind eyes and told me I was going to be ok. (No matter what.) Ironically another girlfriend saw us sitting outside from her car ride home and stopped over, only to have me start weeping while explaining why we were there. She sympathized. More than that, she empathized.
There I sat. Surrounded by people who loved me thinking about how sad it would be to leave them. I couldn’t bare to have a conversation with my husband about it…

Bear texted and I told him I decided to meet friends for a drink. I shared with him what was really going on a few beers in, and then completely fell apart on the bed when I came home at about 9:00 that Monday night. I howled. I screamed. I though of my baby. I thought of my dogs. I thought of my step-son who had JUST gotten used to the idea of me being his mom. I thought of my mom. I thought of my prayer group, my high school friends… I thought a lot in between gulping for air and choking on fear.

Of course, being a Virgo, I began calling the hospital, insurance company, and mammogram office first thing the next morning until someone could assure me that I wouldn’t be waiting a week to come in. I’ve found that kindness and persistence works 100% of the time when in a situation like this, and it worked again. I had an appointment that very afternoon at 1:30pm.

Bear, sick with the flu, insisted that he come with me. This is a man who shows up, every time, everywhere, no matter what. He does what he says he will do. He never leaves me without a partner. I gathered up all my paperwork and prior hospitalization documents and health forms and put them all in a manilla folder. I didn’t label it because…I didn’t know what to write. I held it in my lap and together we drove to the appointment.

The waiting room was full. We arrived nearly an hour early because…well, I don’t know why. I sat next to women in their 80s, black women, asian women, young healthy women, middle-aged women who looked like they’d smoked and drank for the last 40 years. Some of them had husbands or partners. Some of them were there alone. Some were worried. Some were completely calm. And some of us…some of us were going to find out we had cancer that day. And none of us knew which was which yet.

That was maybe the scariest part…

I Love My Husband

This blog is more a survey…a request to gather information from those of you romantically committed to a partner.

Let me start by saying that I love my husband. I went into our marriage knowing that, like all marriages, we would have our ups and downs. A partnership comes in seasons. Sometimes one person is up, the other person is down, and together you work to find a lovely balance that makes for a gentle and pleasant experience.
You know?
So, speaking of up and down, I’d like to know what you do when you set an alarm clock to get up.
Do you set it for the time you need to get up or maybe a little bit earlier so you can room to snooze?
Do you set two alarms?
I’m just asking because…well…
I am not a morning person. I must take my time, have a cup of coffee, do some reading, maybe a little writing and/or meditation, and then I can begin. It’s true. I’m not proud of the fact that I’m not, nor have I ever been, a person who can set an alarm, put both feet on the floor, and begin my day. But this is me. And I accept me.

'He's always doing something to annoy me - like breathing.'

My husband has to get up very early on the mornings he’s working in town. He has to set an alarm for about 6am. Why? Because he has to leave the house by 7am.
Does he take a shower you ask? Not usually.
Are there a lot of tools to prepare? I don’t think so.
Is it important that he have time to mentally plot out his schedule? No.
He sets his alarm clock for 6am so that he can hit the snooze button every ten minutes for 50 minutes and then spend 10 minutes getting his clothes on and leaving the freaking house. And I’d like to share with the entirety of the free world that this is possibly the most irritating thing my husband has or will ever do.
Like I said, seasons.

Granted, he does give me hugs and kisses and snuggles and loves before he leaves every morning. However, by the time he does, I’m so incredibly angry by the amount of times I’ve gently drifted back to sleep and been VIOLENTLY re-woken up by an alarm clock, I don’t exactly receive his love well. (Which doesn’t deter him in the least.) By the time he leaves I’ve been awake-ish for so long that I just go ahead and freaking start my day. There’s no going back to sleep, no gentle awakening to a new, beautiful day. Just 10 alarms and a loss of will to live.

We love our partners, we do. And if they committed true deal-breakers, we’d have girlfriends/guy friends telling us like it is and helping us plan our escape routes. But there is no escaping these teeny, tiny irritants that you have to endure in a relationship. Yes, they can tell you to laugh it off or that it’s “not the worst thing.” No, no, of COURSE it’s not the WORST thing. But it’s PRETTY BAD. Feel free to comment your partner’s biggest irritant if you’d like to join me in this little rant. Except you, Bear. You keep your mouth shut, I’m perfect.