One of my favorite characteristics in Chris is that he is unshakable. Unstoppable. Unflappable. You know that phrase, “He takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’?” They basically wrote that about Chris. There hasn’t been any challenge I’ve seen him face that he hasn’t been able to rise to, take on, and move forward as a better person. And usually, he does this while bringing his family to a better place, too. He’s just that kind of person. He believes in success and he believes that he can be successful at anything, which makes him one of the strongest people I know.
Also? He looks good holding a baby.
Lately though, Chris just can’t catch a break. He got a big promotion at work a few months ago – actually the very week that Gracie was born – which basically gave him two full-time jobs at his company. He’s completely capable of doing both jobs, but the transition to wearing two different hats at the same time has been challenging and exhausting. But you’d never know. He doesn’t complain or make excuses. He just keeps his head down and plows on through.
At the same time, we’re in the process of buying a house. The first house we put an offer in on didn’t work out, but we’re just about to complete the process of buying a different house and we’re scheduled to close on July 15. While I have been involved in the process, it really has been Chris who has taken the responsibility of buying this house on his shoulders. He won’t say it, but I know it’s because he’s trying to keep me from cracking under all the uncertainty and anxieties. To help me stay calm, he’s been the one gathering paperwork for the mortgage company, handling the inspection process, and working with our realtor on hammering out the details of our contract. And, as anyone who has bought a house before knows, those are all stressful burdens to bear.
On top of those two stressful things, Chris comes home at night and jumps right into parenting. He cooks dinner, plays with Bean, sits with us during bath time, feeds Gracie, and somehow manages to even spend some time with me. All of that is good for our family and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s not exactly relaxing. Chris and I don’t get to bed until about 11:00 or 12:00 and then there’s Gracie’s 4:00am bottle (which I usually do, but it still makes for interrupted sleep for Chris), and both our days start at around 6:00.
Chris and I actually struggle with the same problem. Neither of us speak up and ask for help until we’re at our breaking point. It’s just that my breaking point is a lot lower than Chris’s. So, when CHRIS hits the wall, I’m not quite sure what to do. He makes it really hard to help him. He’s frustrated and that sometimes comes out in angry little snaps. He’s overwhelmed and that sometimes makes him seem like he’s not paying attention to me. He’s tired and that sometimes makes him eerily quiet for days at a time. I never know whether to hug him, help him, or just leave him alone.
We’ve been married for six years. Together for twelve. You’d think I’d have this stuff figured out by now.
But that’s one of the great/sucky things about marriage. We’re not married to characteristics. We’re married to people. And people change. They ebb and the flow. And so do our relationships. Ultimately, I may not know exactly how to stand by him sometimes, but I know that he needs me. And that I need him. Everything else we’ll figure out eventually.
Like, by the time we’re soaking our dentures in glass jars together.