Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Time Versus Energy

My husband and I have a classic case of envy going on.

He envies my "free time." I envy his energy and health.

Don't get me wrong -- he is an incredibly supportive and empathetic spouse. I read about marriages breaking up over less than my illness. We even know one couple where the wife nursed her husband through cancer and then had a cancer scare herself. When she was finally cleared of it, he left her saying he wanted to focus on being healthy and her chronic migraines and other health issues that interfered in some of the activities he loved were a downer.

I am blessed that my marriage is a strong and healthy one.

But still. We're both human and sometimes we're envious. And sometimes we get our feelings hurt inadvertently by the other.

Last night at bedtime, as I put aside the book I was reading -- The End of the Jews by Adam Mansbach -- I commented that although it started out sort of slow, it had developed into one of those books I could stay up all night to finish. Not that I would, but it was that engrossing.

Scott said something about how it must be nice to even think of doing so.

And as I'm an emotional rollercoaster these days, I took it personally.

It reminded of how, back in 1997 or so, when I was working just half-time because my first shoulder surgery went so poorly and working on a computer all day pushed my pain levels through the roof. (Although it wasn't really half-time. Instead of four hours a day, I rarely made it out of my office in less than six. But it was better than the nine or ten hours or more I would have spent if I didn't need to go home and take pain meds.)

Scott and I were dating back then, and I was living in Yakima, Wash., while he was in Portland, Ore., about 200 miles away. We talked on the phone pretty much daily in those days, and I think it was one of those days I stopped at the video store on the way home and stocked up. They had a deal on older movies, something like 5 movies for $5 for 5 days, so I'd grabbed a bunch that I'd always meant to watch but hadn't and had finished watching the first one and was part-way through the second during our phone conversation. Like these days, Scott was swamped at work, putting in late hours, and tossed off a, "Must be nice!"

And well, yes, in some ways it is nice. But I would much rather be busy running around with Ellie doing errands and having playdates and taking her to classes than being in pain and so tired I'm afraid to drive, not to mention the myriad of other symptoms I deal with.

And back in the '90s, I hated the fact that I couldn't do my job I loved the way I wanted to. It was a huge loss of self-esteem to not be the go-getter at work because my entire identity was wrapped up in what I did for a living. Just like it's currently a loss of self-esteem to be a stay-at-home mommy who had to put her kid in full-time daycare.

(I never know what to say anymore when people ask what I do. Invalid just doesn't seem like a good answer. But I'm not a stay-at-home mom, really. Nor can I honestly call myself a homemaker. I guess I'm a housewife ... but I don't know that anyone uses that term anymore.)

And, as I pointed out to Scott, I've always been a voracious reader who could happily spend an entire weekend with my nose in a book and would periodically stay up way too late on work-nights because the book I was reading was just that good. (I did have to stop reading for awhile right after Ellie was born and I was too sleep deprived to focus on the printed word. But other than that, I've always been a bookworm. I remember the many times in my childhood when my mom would confiscate my library books and kick me out of the house for the afternoon because otherwise I would spend my entire summer indoors reading.)

I think it's a classic case of The Grass Is Always Greener that gets hold of us. I even envy Scott's horribly limited hobby time because my hands, wrists and other parts hurt too much to resume quilting. I envy that Ellie knows that Daddy is the one to go to for fun playtime. (OK, that was always true to a degree. :) Mommy, meanwhile, is pretty much only good for making sure she's clothed (include clean laundry), shod, has kisses on all her owies, has help using the potty and has new library books.

Meanwhile, Scott's plate is overflowing with responsibilities as breadwinner, parent, homeowner and spouse. And it doesn't help that work is crazy for him these days.

In a perfect world ... well, I guess we all know the world isn't perfect. And I guess if my world was perfect, I definitely wouldn't have a blog called "Sick Momma."


Anonymous said...

Aviva, I think its 'perfectly' wonderful that you share with us your trials and tribulations so that we may appreciate our own lives more and complain less.

Thank you for taking the time to blog...wishing you some peaceful moments and good reads ahead :)

Aviva said...

Thanks, Maria! That's very kind of you. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog, and for reading it too.