Happy New Year!
Tis the season to watch football. The holidays might be over, but the games sure aren't.
This is my husband's favorite time of year. He's got a few days off work, he's got cable TV, and college teams everywhere are filling his bowl with football.
"Hey," he said the other day, walking into the kitchen. "Would you mind if I spent Saturday afternoon with my brothers watching games? I'd like to leave around noon, and won't be back until late. We're going to catch a late movie and make a day of it."
Now, I'm all for supporting his football cravings, but this has been a big couple of weeks. Trying to keep it together with all my kids home for the break is like trying to move soup with my fingers.
"Again?" I asked. "Didn't you guys just do that a few weeks ago?"
"Well, yeah, but this is the last big football day of the season, and I'd really like to spend it with my dad and brothers."
What's a girl supposed to say to that? No? Stay home and be miserable with me all day? Here, I saved a poopy diaper for you? I couldn't even come up with a good reason in my own head to hold him off. "Yeah, that's fine."
Two nights later we left the babies with a sitter for some much-needed alone time. Things were going smoothly until the game day excursion came up.
"So, you're still OK with me going on Saturday, right?" he asked.
"You know," I said, "I wish you wouldn't. You've gone to every home game this season, plus a few soccer games, and I'm tired. The kids wipe me out during the week, and Saturdays are the worst. Besides, it's not like I have anywhere to escape to..."
And right there date night was ruined. It turned into one of those potato/potahto discussions where everyone has a valid point, but the judge and jury can't quite decide which right is most right. I played the poor housewife card, he played the brotherhood bonding card, and on and on it went.
Ten minutes into our surprisingly civil discussion (I highly recommend Cafe Rio for hot topics, you'd be amazed at how well behaved you both are when you've got neighbors sitting six inches away) there was no end in sight. My stilettos were anchored deep in the what-about-me dirt, and I was determined to be right.
Things were escalating and the conversation was almost to the "let's finish this in the car" phase, when quite suddenly, I thought of something.
My husband, doing dishes. Every single night. My husband, walking in from work and straight through the door, taking the screaming baby out of my arms. My husband, fighting his way through bath time. Fetching the baby for me in the middle of the night, cleaning up puke from the back of the car, shoveling the snow that I'm always so delighted by (personally, I'm not actually sure where the shovels are kept), and so on and so forth.
In that moment, I realized that I was being nothing short of a total and complete jerk. My husband asked for an afternoon off. If you count the entire football season, that made a total of eight afternoons in four months. My really great guy, who routinely puts the kids to bed so I can go to the grocery store for some soothing elevator music, wanted a moment to himself, and I was acting like a bulldog with a dirty sock to play with.
In one split postpartum second (something he's unfortunately used to), I was humbled. There are moments in every relationship when we have to decide, do we want to be happy, or do we want to be right? Sometimes being happy is totally worth it.
In marriage, there are hills, and there are hills. Some we climb, some we die on, and sometimes if we're smart, we let our spouse be king for a day and decide to stay home with the kids.