"I had a long day," ...the first words out of my mouth as my husband Danny walks into the house from the garage, his coveralls caked with mud. Streaks of dirt trail across his handsome face. His tired eyes meet mine ... I sense that he feels the same. I had spent the day taking care of our little boo, whilst juggling the usual suspects - laundry, grocery shopping, computer work on my fledgling business during nap-time, dinner-planning and making, and all of the tasks that make up my days. He had spent his day being an entrepreneur in the construction field, single-handedly taking care of the hard labour, the maintenance, the upkeep, the bills, the invoicing, the banking and the bookwork ...
Since having Sav we've had to adjust.
5 years ago we started out as two full-time working adults with career paths and 'clear as day' vision as to where we saw ourselves heading, we were more self-involved back then. We had the freedom to sculpt our paths in whichever creative or abstract way we wanted to. We could lay the rocks in any random pattern we felt suited our mood at the time. We would step away from each other during the day to focus on career goals and then reunite each evening and weekend with a common story to tell. The ups and down of our lives at work ... stress that stemmed from dealing with client issues or deadline delays. The joy that came from a completed project, financial successes - a raise or an invoice paid on time. Our friendships, our families and our simple day to day happenings. We also dreamt about bigger things; the future together, our home, the possibility of having children, but while doing so we were still very focused on our own individual ambitions. Our paths were landscaped in a very similar manner and we relished in the beauty and ease of our journeys.
After we had Sav - this changed.
Where our goals in life used to differ slightly we now find ourselves with the hunger for the exact same destination - finding the very best way to raise a superb little human and how to achieve this while dedicating as much quality time as possible to our new little family of 3.
What has become the biggest adjustment of all lies in the fact that suddenly our paths to get there are now being paved in completely different ways.
I am constantly juggling the rocks that make up my path. And it is never straight. It jogs left and right as I attempt to complete a task and often find myself interrupted. It involves dabbling in everything while focusing on nothing ... at least for now while she is young. I have learned to let alot of things go ... namely my OCD tendencies and the need to finish every task before starting the next. Sav and I play, we read, we dance, she watches me cook, we run errands ... it is thoroughly and intensely rewarding. But also, at times grippingly terrifying as every move I make helps shape her into the person she is going to be. And this job is not a 9-5. It is definitely no longer just about me... my goals used to be singular and now they have multiplied - they involve finding my identity in my role as a Mama, and also making sure to keep the rest of what makes me, me growing and alive.
His path is very straight, it is one that he is used to. It consists of the same stresses, the same highs and the same lows as before, except for now there is way more on the line. Each paycheck needs to stretch a little further, each dollar earned is more necessary than ever. And most importantly each minute is now worth more than it ever was before. He used to be able to take his time polishing each rock, working over-time, taking on more to be able to make more. But, these days he wants to spend his time differently. He still needs to take the time to ensure he is building a strong path, supporting his family along the way, but he finds himself longing for more minutes in each day. He wants to be home earlier. He wants to have Sav in his arms before she goes to bed each night. He wants his weekends to be free - for her. And for this his job is also no longer a 9-5. Like mine, his goals have multiplied. A full-time career and a new, overwhelmingly important role to take on - being a Dad.
There have been times where we have been working so hard on navigating these different paths that we forgot to communicate with each other along the way. And most damagingly, there have been times where we have been quietly keeping a tally of our own stresses, our own burdens. We have focused too much on why our own paths are the steeper and more challenging ones. At times we got bitter, we felt resentment, and we forgot to appreciate. We started keeping score.
And since then, no conversation has been more important than the one we had the other day in which we laid it all out on the table. After hashing it all out we realized that our paths, although different, truly are just as essential, just as demanding, and also just as rewarding as the others. It is one of the biggest challenges we have faced, and although we are not perfect, nor will we ever be, what we have come to agree on, and what has brought a newfound strength to our relationship is this...
What we each bring to the family table can never be compared. It cannot be measured. As long as while we bring it we give it everything we have. Whether it comes in the form of money, nourishment, emotional support, nurture, encouragement, physical labour ... or any of the other pieces that help make up the bigger picture. We now understand that we are both working hard at laying the rocks that build the path to the destination we have dreamt of, and we now know that if along the way, one of them turns out to be too heavy to manage, we will do everything we can to carry it together, as one.