One of these days I’ll learn. I’ll learn not to say things out loud. Things like: “After we get back from convention, on July 11, life will calm down and get back to normal.” But I haven’t learned yet. And like an idiot I said it out loud. And of course, I was wrong.
We’d had something on the calendar for almost every day of the summer before July 11. First the hubby finished up work, then I worked, and we had plans every weekend. Then we went to Pittsburgh with the youth group. So on July 11, we relaxed and enjoyed a leisurely day at home. I wish I would have been more productive that day, now that I know what would happen the next day. Because on July 12, my husband tore his plantaris and Achilles tendons in his right ankle, pretty much incapacitating him for the next few weeks.
I’ve said many times that I couldn’t have four kids this close in age without all the help I get from my husband. We make a really good team with both caring for the kids and keeping up our house and land. But as I’ve discovered over the past few weeks, it’s definitely a team job. Over the years we’ve developed a pretty good division of labor around here, and for the most part the routine works: I do most of the cooking, laundry, and general cleaning, and of course I get to gestate, birth, and nurse our brood. He brings home most of the bacon, takes care of our five acres and the house, and deals with motorized stuff, big bugs, dead critters, cat litter, and other yucky things. Fair and square, right?
Unfortunately, all his boy jobs had to be put on hold with his injury. Any movement in his foot sent crazy pain up his leg, so he ended up in a big Robocop boot with crutches and parked himself in the recliner to recover on doctor’s orders. That left me to step up and take care of all the things he usually does, plus all the things I usually do, plus, oh yeah, take care of our four munchkins. I told him if he was feeling unappreciated, he could have just said something rather than taking such extreme measures to get my attention.
I feel like I haven’t stopped moving for the past two weeks. If something needs to done around here, it’s going to be me who does it. Simple things like helping pour milk for the kids while I dish up a meal (you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone). He can’t carry the baby, so Zachary has been my constant companion for the past few weeks, tagging along with me everywhere I go. Unfortunately, that also includes the middle of the night. I think my little man might be working on some new teeth, because he’s been up at least three or four times a night to nurse since we got home from Pittsburgh. As if my days weren’t tiring enough, I’m not getting much rest at night between Zach and whatever issues the other kids might have. Usually the division of labor is that I feed the baby, and hubby gets up for the big kids’ bad dreams, lost binkies, or drinks of water. Lately it’s been all me, and I can’t even snag a nap because Zach won’t sleep for long during the day either. Even if he did, there’s too much to do.
But before I sound too whiny, I have to admit that I’ve developed more of an appreciation for what he usually does, and I’ve tried to put things in perspective too. His ankle is badly hurt, and it’ll be a long recovery, but he’s still here to talk me through his usual jobs, and he can at least do some sit-down activities with the big kids. He doesn’t have a life-threatening disease, and he doesn’t have to stay in a hospital. Hopefully, he’ll be off crutches soon, and he’ll be able to hobble around in his boot a little. We’ll miss out on a few of our favorite summer pastimes, but I’m learning how to do some things that I should probably know how to do. We were even able to spend a few days camping because he talked me through hitching up the camper and towing it. I guess that’s what teamwork is really all about. Not so much the division of labor, but the willingness to do what we have to do to get things done.
I think this time, though, I’ve finally learned my lesson. When I think we’re on the verge of getting back to normal, I’m definitely keeping my mouth shut!