People Like to Be Acknowledged

Stop now if you’re not in the mood for a long, bitchy vent.

My husband works for a living, like most people do.  We are fortunate that his position allows me the opportunity to be at home and raise our children.  I realize and appreciate in this day and age that not everyone has this privilege.  I did not have it for most of the early years of our marriage.  As a matter of fact, after 4 months maternity leave, I did not get to stay home with Brighid again until Eilis was born, so for more than half of our marriage, I have worked outside of the home. 

Inside the home, well, I admit to not being an expert at anything.  I am not a good organizer, and I feel overwhelmed often by the clutter that accumulates in my house.  I am not the best cleaner.  We have clean toilets, clean sinks, clean counter tops, and clean sheets, but I’m not the housewife who is spending my free minutes cleaning baseboards (I even had to just look and see if this house has baseboards) and polishing silverware (we have none of that).  I feel like my children are well taken care of, they get hot breakfast 6 days out of 7; they get the lunch that they want, whether it is hot or not; and I cook dinner at least 5 nights out of 7.  I take kids to the gym, to soccer, to t-ball, to karate, to cheerleading, to three different schools, and to whatever else they need to get to.  I had been going to the movies once a week with a girlfriend, but I have had to put that on hold due to the kids’ schedules; and I have given up my Wednesday night weight loss surgery support group meetings so that the kids’ activities are not interfered with.  So, essentially, except for at least one phone call daily from my mother and another from my sister, my adult contact is limited to when Jim is home on the weekends. 

So yesterday was my 17th wedding anniversary.  We’re saving for our trip over the summer, so I had not expected, nor had I hoped for, any type of gift.  I thought we would ask Brighid to watch the kids and Jim and I would go have dinner somewhere.  I expected SOME sort of acknowledgement that it was our anniversary.  I thought even if we didn’t go to dinner, we could do SOMETHING together – just the two of us.  But we didn’t.  We spent the morning waiting for Jim to get off of the computer.  Then we took Eilis and Granuaile shoes shopping.  Then we went to lunch at Buca di Beppo.  Then we went to the mall for Jim to try on pants.  Then we came home.  And it was on the way home that he said, “Well, I’ll just order a pizza so no one (no one?  I’m the only one who would.) has to cook dinner.”  Is he kidding me?  I don’t even have food out for dinner because I totally expected we would go out.

It’s not relaxing for me to go out with the kids to eat.  I don’t mind it all the time, I love my children.  But I look forward to the rare opportunity when I can go out without them.  I spend all week with them and doing stuff for them.  I do not get a shower or use the toilet at all Monday through Friday when there is not a kid banging on the door or yelling through the wall.  I literally have no peace unless I am asleep, and even then, I spend at least part of my night checking on the kids.

But to make it worse, there was nothing special about our anniversary.  It was just another day for the same old stuff.  Based on calculations done here:

http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-are-chances-your-marriage-will.html

we had a 43% chance of reaching our 17th wedding anniversary, so the fact that we got there at all should have made the day special.  But not to Jim.

It hurts me that he doesn’t give any weight to the things that I find important.  Like our anniversary.  Coming from a home that was “broken” by divorce, I am grateful for every day we stay married, and think that it’s important to celebrate the big, annual milestone that says not only we beat the odds, but we have done it with a loving and happy house.  Yesterday was no big deal for him.  He got up, took no special care in getting dressed, even though I made sure to do my hair and put on make up.  It seems like a stupid thing, but it seemed like a special day to me, and I wanted to look better than a normal day.  I expected us to find SOME time during the day to do something for just the two of us, but it really ended up being just a day full of running errands and doing the things I do the other 364 days each year. 

We’ve gone through half of life together almost.  We’ve been through birth, death, bankruptcy.  We’ve spent wonderful days together and we’ve spent awful days apart.  In the past year, we’ve spent even more time apart, and it’s been hard.  That seemed like all the more reason we should have celebrated 17  years together.  It didn’t end up that way.  He ended up being a jerk and I ended up leaving to spend my evening by myself. 

Maybe next year will be better.  I don’t dare hope 🙁