Everyone is gone.
The laundry is almost done. Speaking of which. I'm not all that convinced that these new (really expensive) laundry machines are all they are cracked up to be. That or I just need to learn to use a new machine.
I could go to bed.
I had this epiphany tonight, however. I was washing off the table with one hand. I know you've been there–bending at the knees to reach the table, trying to keep the baby against your shoulder. Winslow is in the tub, two hours after bed time, having a grand experience. All the beds are stripped still from laundering.
I consider asking someone to make up the beds–but I know I will end up doing it anyway. So I ask someone to help Winslow get out, get his pj's on, and brush his teeth. This, of course, is heard as a request to simply relay the message that Mom says it is time to get out and brush teeth.
So I am putting mattress covers and sheets back onto beds, baby is crying, and Winslow is hollering at me that his pj's are not in his drawer, so I find them. Now they are inside out, will you fix this, etc.
First of all, why do I just stew over it, and then do it all myself? Why can't I say, hey, I asked you to do this thing for me. I really need some help. Or maybe. Would you rather put these sheets on, or hold Dustin, while I help Winslow? See, that would be a good way to phrase it. But I don't. For fifteen years, I've just done it myself.
So now that I'm finally saying, hey, I need some help, how can I really blame anyone for not getting it? They have no clue what I really mean when I say clean your room or get the kid out of the tub–I've always done it all, and made it look easy, because I'll be darned if I'm going to let you see that I'm ready to crack, that I'm so tired I want to sit down, right here in the middle of the Walmart parking lot and cry because I don't think I can get these carts up the incline to the van. (Do all Walmarts pave their lots that way, or is it just Moses Lake?)
Honestly, it's not pride, so much as. . .
I don't want to criticize, you know? I don't want to be that wife or mother that's always nagging, or complaining, ordering people around. Peace at all costs. I don't want you to think that it's your fault that I'm exhausted, or that I'm upset with you for being thoughtless; so I pretend like you're not, even when you absolutely are. And so you think I like this–doing everything my way, on my schedule. You think you are being helpful by staying out of the way. And here I am, smiling at you, praying fervently for the strength to love you across such a vast distance.
I realized that I tend to not ask people to do things until I am desparate–until they needed doing ten minutes ago, and then I get uptight when the person doesn't jump off like a shot and go and do. After all, if it didn't need doing RIGHT NOW, I'd do it myself. Poor planning on my part does not constitute an emergency on anyone else's part, I know, I know. I also realized that I don't ask people to do the simple things that would help so much because . . . it isn't THAT much harder to do it myself. Like. If you were running a marathon, and you asked someone to carry you the last three yards. You wouldn't, even if you were staggering and blinded with exhaustion, you'd go those last few steps, because you've come all this way yourself already, right? Now that's pride.
Should I wake up tomorrow and the floor was mopped, the laundry folded, and you'd brushed your teeth. Would I let on how huge a relief it is for you to have done such a thing? Do I throw my arms around you and burst into tears, and let you know that I wasn't sure I could drag myself one more step until I saw what you had done for me?
No. Because . . .
Because . . .you might feel bad that you don't do it more regularly? You might know that I'm not sure I can make it even one more day, and you might feel bad for letting me carry this load alone for so long. And so I'll smile and make light of it, and thank you, but not too profusely, and you will feel cheated, because you wanted to make a grand gesture, you wanted to be needed, and now you know, you're just as inconsequential as you expected.
I don't know, people. I think I've dug myself quite a hole. Even recognizing this thought process for what it is, I don't think I have the will power to change it. Tomorrow, I will be making a bottle, and the phone will ring, and someone will run out of toilet paper, and you will be sitting in the only chair in the room, with your feet in the air, singing a song, and I will not ask you to move. I will wedge the phone between my left shoulder and my ear and straighten out the insurance mess while I tear open the TP package with my teeth, replace the roll, and wipe the behind with one hand; I will sit on the floor while I feed the baby, and I will ask you how your day went. And I hope you will know that I really mean it. Even if ten people interupt us, and the phone rings six more times and the baby vomits and I have to get up before you get to the punchline. I want to know that you're happy. And I'm sitting on the floor because I want you to be so comfortable in my chair, that you never want to leave, that you will stay there and talk to me all day if you want. Because I love you, and if I don't make you feel needed, or wanted, it's just that I don't know how. That's who I am. And I'm sorry.