My husband and I had a system. It worked well for us. He took the kids to daycare in the morning and I picked them up after work. I packed lunches and he filled bottles. The bedtime routine went smoothly. He bathed our son and tucked him in while I nursed the baby to sleep.
At the end of the day, we both sat down exhausted from our eventful day and the next day we would do it all over again. Our system worked and just like anything you do continuously, we got good at it.
It was all good until BOOM, my husband got the test results. Yeah, we knew something was wrong. It’s not normal to have chronic pain for an entire year, but still you are never prepared for the results.
I remember hearing the words “disease” and “hip” but in my mind, all I could focus on were his limitations. Did the doctor really say, “No weight-bearing on your right hip for 12 weeks”? That seemed impossible. We have two small kids. How was I going to do everything? It’s hard enough with two of us.
One thing led to another and before we knew it, it was surgery day. I asked the doctor once more to go over my husbands restrictions to ensure that I understood what we were up for. Are you sure he will not be able to walk, lift the children, or drive for 12 weeks? He simply looked me in the eyes and said, “No, give this a chance to work.”
As it set in, I reminded myself that this wasn’t about me, even though it was a direct attack to my daily routine. I wanted to keep things somewhat normal for my children and under these circumstances, nothing was going to be normal. I told myself I could handle this. It’s only 12 weeks.
Now six weeks post surgery, and hats off to you single mothers! It’s hard work managing a household on your own. I have never realized how much my husband actually did! I’ve overlooked some of the little things that went unannounced, such as making coffee and taking out the garbage. I am also missing the big things he did, like driving the kids to daycare, fall cleanup (yes, all those leaves), and cutting down our Christmas tree.
Thankful Our Systems Work
I’ve quickly come to realize how blessed we are in good health. I think we get so wrapped up in our daily stresses that we forget to stop and be “thankful” that our bodies allow us to do these things. In the moment, we may feel overwhelmed or tired, but on the bright side, our bodies are keeping up.
I’m certain my husband wishes he could simply carry our baby to the changing table to change her nappy or vacuum up those spilled cheerios. Sometimes it takes tough times like these to count our blessings.
We never know when we will be faced with a health or medical issue. Unfortunately, the truth is, we will all deal with something at one point in our lives. If we are lucky, it will be a minor bump in the road and a fast recovery. Then there are the less lucky outcomes and those that have longer recoveries. There’s a reason why our wedding vows say, “through thick and thin, in sickness and in health.”
Through these hard times, I’ve learned one major lesson: don’t take for granted all the things our partners do. Yes, we all get annoyed with each other at times and one of us may do more than the other, but at the end of the day, every little thing counts. It’s when you lose your partner’s ability to contribute, when that working system you’ve created together comes to a halt, that you truly realize how valuable your partner is.