Friday, September 13, 2013

Bed rest and house arrest

We're expecting our new little girl in about a month-and-a-half. Well, more like any day now. Since my wife is prone to premature labor, the doctor has put her on bed rest, which means I'm basically on house arrest. Let me tell you, that's been a challenge for a whole bunch of reasons. But you know what? There's a whole lot of good in this.

Namely, it gives me an opportunity to test all those lofty principles I preach to the guys on a regular basis. I'm talking about perseverance, service, self-control, time management, and gratitude, among other things. I want to talk about gratitude.

I am so grateful for -- and amazed at -- at what my wife accomplishes on a daily basis. While I've been doing what I used to call "hard," she's been subjected to a daily crucible known as "motherhood." Don't get me wrong -- I've always known, in theory, how difficult her job is. On the occasional day when I had to watch the kids for a few hours while she would selfishly go get her nails done for the year, after two hours I'd whip out the phone to passive-aggressively ask when she'd be home. Every. Five. Minutes. "Hey--everything's under control here, but I really don't have time to fold laundry when I've got TPS reports to do..."

Every day I come home and the house is, compared to my bachelor past, immaculate. I've never asked for or demanded such a thing (#1, I'm not an idiot, and #2, I was never raised with the idea of "women's work." Quite the contrary, actually). But she considers it a point of pride. And while she's worked her fingers to the bone to do it, she's created, in her words, "a safe place to land." I wouldn't say I never appreciated it before, but I can safely say that I never appreciated it enough.

This is hard. Back-breaking, soul-crushing, emotions-testing hard. It's one thing to keep a household of five (soon to be six) in order, but to do it when three (or four, if you count me) of those in your care are seditious little traitors who will destroy a room WHILE you're putting it together, well, that doesn't just take grace -- it takes supernatural grace.

She's done it for years while I grind it out "in the field." My challenges are significant, but after this week where I've primarily been doing her job, with mine as a brief afterthought, I will never again blithely text her "You're doing great -- just be tough and I'll be home in six hours."

Oh boy. So many times per day I want a time machine to go back and slap myself in the face before I say or do something stupid. So. Many. Times.

So here's to you, hon. Enjoy your down time. I know it's not all Bon Bons and cabernet in the last stretch of a pregnancy, but I hope you can get a few minutes of peace, at least.

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