I had a moment of clarity today in which I discovered one of the reasons that my husband’s night shifts are so difficult for me to endure: I put everything on hold. I wait; hold my breath. It happens slowly, mostly because the night shift creeps up on us. In the beginning, it almost never looks like it’s going to be a month of upended time travel. It starts as one night, odd hours for a day or two. So, I suspend normal life, waiting for the pieces to fall back in to their proper alignment. And when one night because one week becomes another week — well, I’m still waiting. I have put our family in a holding pattern, waiting for my ideal and well-worn daily duties to fall back to their places.
This is tough: for me, for the kids. For our house (the bathroom! the vacuuming!) I try meal planning but toss in the towel. (Am I packing a lunch for my husband? Or is it a midnight snack? Am I making dinner for just the little ones, or the whole family?) I attempt to make the bed but give up (someone has been sleeping in my bed nearly every hour of the day!) I want to make a playdate, but get mixed up about when my husband will be awake and ready to play. In putting things on hold I crawl in to survival mode and I forget that sometimes the very things that I have set aside are the exact things that I need to keep some semblance of normalcy in our lives. Today, for instance.
Today we played with dear friends in the morning, while dear ol’ daddy slept. We got out of the house, romped outside. The kids laughed and played. I walked, soaked up sunshine, sipped coffee, and caught up with one whom I have missed. And why have I missed out? I chose isolation instead of comraderie. I was waiting, twiddling my thumbs, anticipating the end of crazy and the coming of normal. Instead, today the little ones were thrilled to have someone other than me to play with and I was lifted by joyful companionship. What a blessing!
Though tonight brings the close to our wacky-crazy-mixed-up family hours (fingers crossed!) this is a lesson I will hold to for the next time (there is always a next time). My husband, thankfully, is resilient enough to fall in to whatever life is happening in the present moment, and I need to keep our momentum moving forward. I will not idly wait any longer.