The past few weeks of sickness in our house has taken a toll on me. Gracie and I both somehow escaped the epidemic in our household, but taking care of Bean Man and Chris was exhausting. To make things even more fun, Chris was also working tech rehearsals last week, which meant when he wasn’t home in bed, he was at work until about 11:00 every night. I was tired of being coughed on, sneezed at, argued with, and irritated by my children. I was just plain tired, really. Only, I didn’t have the advantage of a terrible sickness to buy me some time in bed. I just had to trudge on.
I made it a point to not make Chris feel guilty about this, either. After all, it wasn’t his fault he had caught the plague. So, after taking care of the kids for days by myself and then having him come home and flop into bed to rest his tired, sick body, I didn’t complain or whine or nag. I simply loved on him, brought him another blanket, helped him fluff his pillow, and fed him more medicine.
He was more than appreciative. He sent me sweet text messages all week long telling me what a good wife I was, what a good mother I was, how he was so thankful I was there to take care of our family.
Blah, blah, blah.
Bean and Chris are finally feeling back to normal and are both back and school and work this week. Which is good because I have been looking forward to us having a night at home with TWO parents there to help with the chores and responsibilities. Only Chris called yesterday afternoon to say that he had one more night of tech to work, and he wasn’t sure if he should try to come home for 30 minutes during the rehearsal dinner break or if he should just stay and work straight through.
And that’s when the dam broke.
Wait for it…
“It’s okay,” I said sweetly. “Stay and take care of everything you need to take care of there. I’ve got it all under control here.”
Wait for it…
“Really?” he said, and I could hear a big smile and lots of pride in his voice. “You’re so great, Kate,” he said.
Wait for it…
“Yeah,” I responded sweetly. “Besides, we’ve gotten used to life around here without you.”
THERE IT IS!
I can zing a zinger like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, I’m so good at it that most people don’t even realize I just zinged them.
Passive aggressiveness. It’s my specialty, y’all. ‘Tis a fatal flaw, though, because once you zing someone with a snide, underhanded comment, it can’t be taken back. You can’t unzing a zinger. And so with that one comment, I undid two weeks worth of good deeds. Two weeks I took care of my family and tried my very hardest not to complain or wallow in my misery and with that one comment, I undermined all the good I had done.
Chris didn’t really say much about the comment, and I just laughed it off and made it into a little joke. Told him it was okay, I knew he was busy and sick and that it wasn’t his fault. We didn’t have an argument and he didn’t get mad at me. My smallness really went unchecked. And that’s really what it was, smallness. I made myself small and petty in that comment. It was not nice, and, though Chris never said a word about it, I have thought about it all day.
Sometimes we say things out of anger and frustration, and we usually can identify those comments easily because they stand out. We’re emotional and revved up. There is nothing passive in those comments. They are all aggression. But I think, in my marriage, the comments that hurt the most – that zing – are the ones we sometimes say in passing. Those passive comments that are carefully aimed to pierce us in the heart, where it hurts the most.
So tonight, I’m going to apologize for a fight we never even had simply because I made a mean comment. And though it may not have hurt my husband’s feelings, it crossed a line that I have drawn for myself – to be kind, considerate, supportive, intentional, aware, and thoughtful in my marriage. No zinging allowed.