As 2016 morphed into 2017, work surged. Busy at work is a good thing but there is also an ugly side to it as well. An increase in volume means an increase in revenue, an increase in expenditure and in working hours, increased tiredness and shorter fuses. Add to that raising 2 teenage boys, one a bit more difficult at times than the other, perimenopause, running a household and well, living life. I thought I had a head start when I made sure we transitioned from the Christmas mode early enough in anticipation of the workload, but really, we all know you just can’t be ahead of the game all the time, especially when you want to be or feel like you have to be. Very quickly things began to get on my nerves and while I tried to stay even keeled and patient, I was feeling like I just wanted to scrape off everything and everyone close to me. I literally felt like life was clawing and scratching its way all over me and it was overwhelming.
Needless to say when that happens around here, so do some pretty intense and “spirited” arguments followed by most certain tension. Over the years Tom and I have been very real. We have a good, strong marriage but certainly not a perfect one but we work at it and have fun with it as well. I have known people who have said they never argue or fight ( oddly enough one person who has said this to me so many years ago in my living room in Brockville with her cutesie, shitty little smirk comes to mind. She has since divorced her husband … go figure little Miss goodie Two Shoes Critical ). Living together and working together has been a skill my husband and I have mostly mastered over the years and I say mostly because there are some damn days when mmmmm boy….OYE! Alas, we are human. It’s been better lately and we are getting through the crunch of the workload and we are getting back to the system we are used to but occasionally we both sense that the other is at the edge of tolerance. We haven’t really made time to do our usual Netflix marathon. We have been out to lunch but have been too mentally wiped to really talk and of course we are being supportive of Logan as he writes his first high school exams – being available to listen to his presentations, be there to help him if he is stuck with the studying and of course to drive him and Adam to practices and meets and appointments. Add a dash of Adam’s occasional particular brand of autistic adolescent B.S and you get two people who generally enjoy spending time together, just happy to sit in different rooms and of late, fall asleep long before the other comes to bed.
This self preservation and intentional and mindful increase in patience and tolerance of each other has shown me that working towards building a successful business is draining. Don’t get me wrong, we earned it, we want it and we are doing it but the lesson here is the same lesson one learns when times are tight and there is not a dollar to spare. The lesson one learns when the baby has colic and has screamed for 24 hours and you instantly had him off without so much as a thought or even a “hello” to the person who has been grinding it out at work all day. It is the lesson that teaches you about making an even greater effort to keep the relationship healthy. You have to make a greater effort to smile, to greet and to listen. You have to make a greater effort to know when you have to cut into your unwind time, tablet time, computer time or TV time and include that person you fell in love with. You have dig deep inside yourself and make a great effort to make the time you spend together become time spent together and you have to make a greater effort to leave work at the doorstep.
We have a good but busy year ahead of us. The tension is there but we have a better awareness of it, I feel. I’d like to get back to being mushed together on the couch watching some TV series and I’d like us to be in bed at the same time, falling asleep at the same time and waking up late and staying in bed chatting about our random heavy duty topics without having to jump out of bed and get a head start on the workday. I hope our lunches and dinners out can be free of the distraction of these initial busy first months or that these months will fly by and we can re-connect over a meal the way we usually do.
At least, though we …he… has taken a step toward that in the form of the grand gesture of us going to New York for my 50th birthday. He has never been and I love going there and I am looking forward to sharing this experience with him. I hope when we are there we let go of everything for the four days and I hope that time away from our usual environment will allow us to experience that familiar feeling we both love about marriage – the feeling of being “at home” when you are with the person you love. We are lucky, Tom and me. We have had a hell of a ride on the fastest of roller coasters. Anyone who knows post-baby Daniella, will tell you I am no longer a willing coaster rider but on the life ride with Tom, in this marriage, in this crazy world with these two humans we are trying to raise to be good men, I have always felt safe with him. As much as I may question or doubt, I can honestly say, he has always stuck to his word when he says everything will be alright. He makes things right. He makes them better and he makes bad experiences fade into the past. We have loved passionately, fought passionately, been worried, afraid, hopeful and happy on this life ride. We have seen dark times and the brightest days and his optimism and my perseverance have complimented each other in a way that is demonstrated by the characteristics of our sons. In some bizarre way, we work and well… we fit. And as maddening as we can be to each other, and as polar opposite as we are there, is no one I would rather love, kiss, hug, lay beside, work with, sigh at, roll my eyes at and be frustrated with. I was reminded of that this week when I heard that my friend’s husband passed away and just this second when Tom told me one of his radio bosses (not much older than we are) also passed. I have seen my clients go through it and I have seen my mother deal with it and I can see how painful, frightening and unfair it is to have the person you love leave you behind. Life is so unpredictable and can change in the blink of an eye. I hope for the retirement brochure image. You know. that idyllic scene of two people travelling and exploring a new phase of life in their more mature years. I yearn for it, pray for it, though I know it is only 50% up to us to get there as the other 50% is pure fate. I also fear not getting to experience it because I want it so badly.
So, tomorrow is another busy day. He is booked solid with appointments and I will divide my time between getting my office into work space condition, touching base with a few clients about some projects on the go and going through and responding to our e-mails. We will be working as a unit in the most separate of ways, ploughing through this next month, coming up for air when we get to the Big Apple. This is our life. It’s not perfect and it is not always fair and it is not always all shits and giggles but I think it’s pretty great, even when it sucks because I’d rather it suck with my three men than without them. Whether you are in a state of bliss, state of despair or in some kind of weird funk like me, I wish you peace and I wish you the good sense to always reflect on what you have and what you stand to lose. ( Of course, if your situation is utterly shite and you need to move on, please do, because this is not about putting up or being content to settle with a terrible person or situation no matter what – let’s be clear on that). Here’s to clarity, to ploughing through tough times to get to the better times and here’s to time well spent with those well loved.