One of the biggest changes in our life over the past year has been the beau’s new career as a nurse and transition to working night shift. In the first 5 years of our marriage, he commuted at least an hour each way Monday-Friday to sit behind a desk, process shipping orders for the software company he worked for. Now during most of the tenure of our marriage, he’s been in school of some sort so I was used to him not being home every night, but the routine of our life was still pretty much the same.
Sunday–church and food/meal prep for the week ahead. Monday-Friday–breakfast/coffee together, work, eat dinner together most nights, go to the gym or walk together. Saturday-he’d have clinicals and then we’d do some sort of date night–be it at home or out on the town.
Life is much different now.
12 hour shifts 2-3 times a week. Never the same days. Leaving for work around 5:45pm–about 30 minutes after I arrive home–and returning back home around 8-8:30 the next morning–long after I’ve left for work. Not sitting behind a desk all day but being on your feet for 12 hours and some nights literally running around for hours at a time. Caring for critically ill patients and their families. Physically, mentally and emotionally draining.
Meal prep is tough–he’s not eating on a normal schedule and these days I’m not feeling like much of a cook (thanks to the Cub). There are times when he’s working 3 days in a row that I may not see him for 3 days especially if I’ve got evening commitments. Sleep schedule. This is the biggie. He’s constantly tired and it’s hard to go do fun stuff when you’re always tired.
This type “A” Girl is living the most non-type “A” life imaginable.
And while it’s been tough, there are also some really sweet things that come from it.
We don’t have “planned” date nights as often, but we relish the opportunity to run errands together on a Wednesday night and sneak in dinner at a favorite spot. The time we do have off together is so much more meaningful. There are times in which the beau will have a stretch of 5 days off just the way his schedule falls. It’s been so nice to get house renovations completed, or just steal away for a super quick beach getaway when that happens. He rarely works Saturday nights so we relish those as nights we actually get to go to bed together and wake up together on Sunday. Our Sundays have truly become a Sabbath. My gratitude for him and the job he does, how he provides for our family and just being in the same house (even if he’s upstairs sleeping as I write this very blog) overflows.
I’m reminded of the analogy I use with my students of putting in the big rocks first, then the smaller, ones, then gravel, sand and then water. In that order, everything fits. When things are out of order, then your container overflows and things get stressful. That’s where we are.
Things have changed in order to put in this big rock first. Protecting our marriage is so important. I’ve had to say no to people and things I really want to invest in. Even now, I’m trying to figure out how I can continue to make space for what is most important in my life–and for me, that’s my relationship with Christ, our marriage, caring for myself–mind body and soul, creating a loving home and connecting with other women. If it’s not one of those big rocks, it’s not going in first. Intentionality with our schedule to come home right after work on those days he’s works most days is a must. Or determining a time we can meet up for coffee in Lexington. Connection is key. If that doesn’t happen, we easily will fall into the trap of getting a little snippy, and our “sandpaper moments” skyrocket.
This has all lead to more time at home for myself. Whitespace if you will. And this isn’t always easy, but oh how things come full circle. That was the intention I chose for 2015. It’s October and the intention wasn’t abandoned, it just didn’t become the central focus of my blogging or my every day thoughts.
But what happened was that I began living it. Creating whitespace means a lot of change and sometimes that is hard–hello lonely nights! But learning how to live in this new schedule and support the beau by putting up my kickstand and being present.
A place of stopping. Slowing down. Doing the necessary work. Oiling the chains. Getting a fresh coat of paint.
In summary–Keep the main thing, the main thing. Yup that’s what I’ve done. And I’m oh, so grateful.
Check out my other #Write31Days challenge entries here.