The other day Henry came downstairs with a drawing, wanting it to be made into a paper airplane. He looked at me and said, “Where’s Dave?” (The children call Dave by his first name; we honestly have no idea why.) When he couldn’t find Dave he grudgingly allowed me to make the paper airplane. An hour later, I was talking with Dave when Henry came to us with another drawing to be made into a paper airplane, which he handed to Dave.
First Dave turned the drawing in a different direction than I had, and it seemed like that was going to be so much better than the way I had done it. I was supremely annoyed. How dare Dave make such a simple change and do it so much better than I had? No wonder Henry had been looking for him in the first place. And then Dave folded this way and that, around and around, and pretty soon it became clear that he wasn’t totally sure what he was doing. That my airplane was better. And I was really psyched.
What is my problem? I’m glad at least that I had the forethought not to say anything out loud (well, until I blogged about it…ha). Am I the only one who is bizarrely competitive with the one person who I should be trying to get on my team?
There are twelve different directions I can go with this way of thinking. Dave and I have a very fifties set-up going on here, where he works at a regular job, and a grueling desk job at that, and I stay home with the three children. We both have so many things on our to-do lists that when something else gets added — like last week when Eli broke a window — I feel like throwing up. We both spend our days vascillating wildly between extreme dissatisfaction and mild unrest, with short bursts of joy in between. It’s stressful just as it is. I feel like I’m constantly on the precipice, and if one thing goes wrong, everything devolves into chaos. And, frequently, several things go wrong.
Dave and I should be together, a united front, and yet the state of modern marriage is such that we’re all stressed out, and the only person we can take it out on is each other. And so we do, and I am suddenly ready to lord my superior paper airplane skills over him, which is especially dumb considering Dave scores something like 1 Billion on the universal How Handy Are You? quiz and so my momentary win in the paper airplane contest doesn’t really count at all.
I’ll tell you this: it’s hard having so many people in your house all the time. It’s extremely irritating to close the bathroom door and have it pop right back open again so that two little people can follow you in to chat. And you spend the whole time saying, “I need privacy!” and they don’t leave. Then you finish and one of them says, “I have to go to the bathroom. You leave and shut the door. All the way. I need privacy.” Anyway. That’s a bit of a tangent. It’s hard, is what I’m saying. Being a grownup. Getting time in your own darn head to sort it all out.
So this is the mantra for today: appreciate our differences and use them to our advantage. Together we’re way more useful than separate, and so that is how it should be.