We celebrated this hunk’s birthday this past weekend and it only proved my scientific theory that men do get better looking as they get older and that’s why women are moody.
We took Chris bowling all afternoon because it was raining and because he is a closet bowler. He loves to bowl – always has. And he’s cute while he does it, so I don’t usually mind.
I was kind of bummed because I’m not a GREAT bowler. Actually, I’m really, really awful. And this time, I was legitimately out-bowled by BOTH my children. In fact, Gracie ended up being a pretty solid bowler (of course, she used the kids ramp to help, but still… hard to judge since I used the bumpers!).
Chris’s sister, Annie, came along and we got a couple pitchers of beer, fries from the concession stand, and gave the kids a roll of quarters for the arcade. It was a perfect way to ride out a nasty, rainy summer afternoon.
When I was a kid, we were NEVER allowed to spend money at the arcade. I don’t think I’d ever been in one until Chris and I were in college! My parents thought they were a complete waste of money, and I agree. But Chris loves a good arcade and I love that he and the kids get a kick out of them. They are so cute together and have so much fun playing. Although, Bean is a victim of THE CLAW every single time! We remind him every time that the last time he tried a claw machine, he was disappointed, but it doesn’t matter. The lure of THE CLAW is too much for him. And he gets mad EVERY SINGLE TIME, as if it’s never happened to him before.
Claw machines aside, it was nice to spend a day with Chris, doing something fun with zero responsibility. Chris has really been struggling lately. It seems to happen every summer because that’s his busiest time of year at work. He is wrapping up the fiscal year, planning for the next season’s shows (which means budgeting hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time – lots of pressure), and putting together their company’s budget for the year (which means budgeting millions of dollars at a time – even more pressure). Add to it that his theater has summer camps running all summer long and the fact that the kids and I are off having a ton of fun without him while he works and it’s enough to make anyone a little bummed out.
This summer has added even more stress to Chris’s plate because he has really taken over the reins from me on ClassMax. We are in the final stages of development (we go live with our alpha testing group tomorrow!!!) and he is up to his elbows in coding, troubleshooting, and planning. While I can shoulder some of the work load and our partner, Nick, carries more than his fair share, the weight of responsibility on Chris feels even heavier because of his 9-5 job (which is really 9-midnight, these days, thanks to technical rehearsals for their summer production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”…).
All in all, it’s just a tough season for him. And I’ll be completely honest with you. He is difficult to support. He’s like hugging a wet cat. He wants to be supported, but he’s so short tempered and snippy that when I do help, he isn’t always so gracious.
That’s the part about growing old together that I really love. I love that we are to the point in our marriage where we can snip and snap at each other and let it roll off our backs. We certainly apologize when we’ve been snippy, but in the heat of the moment, it is much easier to snap and recover than it was in the early years of our marriage. Take this afternoon, for example. I was so tired of his complaining and doom and gloom attitude that I finally snapped.
“YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE DECISION TO LET SOME OF THIS GO!” I yelled.
“I’M TRYING!” he yelled back. “STOP YELLING AT ME!”
“NO!” I yelled back. “I HAVE TRIED NOT YELLING FOR A MONTH NOW. YOU DON’T LISTEN. SO NOW I’M YELLING. GET OVER THIS! LET THINGS GO! ASK FOR HELP! TAKE A STEP BACK! MAKE A CHANGE! DO SOMETHING!”
And then he stopped yelling and we stood there quietly for a minute. “Okay,” he said, in a much more reasonable volume. We talked for another half hour about practical ways he could get out of this slump. By the time he left for work, his load wasn’t necessarily any lighter, but he seemed a little more hopeful.
Loving someone for a long time is HARD, kids. It means sometimes being the punching bag when they don’t know how else or who else to communicate with. It means knowing when to accept that you’re the punching bag for a while and when to finally say, “Okay, that’s enough.” It means saying you’re sorry when you’ve unleashed on your partner simply because you can. It means being able to say that you know they can be a better version of themselves. It means listening when your partner tells you that you can do better.
And it means doing all of this while standing in a kitchen before work while your children argue in the other room and the dogs bark to be fed and you’re trying to find the damn pork roast that you know is somewhere in the freezer.
Life doesn’t stop for love. So you have to learn how to love in real life, and that’s not always pretty.
But let me tell you something… That kind of love is the most amazing blessing of your life.