Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I've always been a late bloomer. I didn't get married until I was 32 years old- which is great because I'm sure waiting saved me a divorce or two. But it also stinks because Michael and I are both very much so (mostly) grown ups and often unbearably set in our ways. Marriage is hard. Really really really stinking hard- and either it's hard for everyone and people mostly just don't talk about it- or it's just hard for Chrissy and Michael. Something tells me the latter just isn't true, because so often you hear about so and so getting divorced and you wonder- how? It seemed like everything was perfect?

I think there are many reasons people don't discuss hard times in their relationship. We may feel as if we are the only ones that find it hard. The only ones that must be doing it wrong. I think some people keep their issues very private out of respect for their mate. I get that- they don't want to come off as a complaining basher. They don't want to air their love's dirty laundry or skeletons. They don't want to admit how imperfect their imperfect relationship makes them feel at times. I feel a little bad writing about my relationship. You only hear my perspective- and I don't want Michael to feel bad when he reads it. I always ask his permission. My text tonight- Permission to discuss our fight with my friends? Michael's response- Thanks for asking, but you don't need permission. And that is one of the many reasons I love him. He lets me be who I am- out loud. He's actually never tried to turn me into anything I'm not. 

It's so easy to think differently, act differently, do differently- in practice, on occasion, when it really doesn't matter and at night when I'm writing. But I just get so used to being a human being  - I get used to doing the same things I do the same way over and over again. Repetition. Routine. Rut. My greatest, worst-est friends. The older I get the harder it is for me to change.

This morning I woke up early with Doodle. He is a morning Doodle. I am not a morning Mommy. 

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And as the morning went on I kept getting more and more exhausted. 

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Cranky Doodle went to town. No, you can not have more fish oil. I know it's delicious.

By the time the rest of the house woke up I felt like I already lived at least a couple of days. Parker's therapist had another meeting, so his therapy didn't start until 10:15 this morning. As soon as she got here I immediately went into my room and burrowed back under the covers. I was so NOT ready to start the day, already exhausted. I try to remember a time I haven't been exhausted and I can't. For sure years of varying degrees of exhausted. At least that's how it felt today.

Michael was packing to travel for work. He had the luxury of showering and getting ready all by himself. Jealous. With what looked like pity and annoyance the freshly showered, suited up Michael said, You should really go to the Doctor to find out why you are so exhausted all the time. 

I poked my head out from under our down comforter. Pissed that this discussion was cutting into the hour of silence I so desperately needed for my very survival. Well, okay...but I think I know why. It's not like I have the easiest life. It's pretty hard sometimes. I don't complain about it- but that doesn't mean it isn't HARD. And with you going out of town on top of that it's sometimes unbearable. I just don't feel like I can catch up.

Yes, I know what you do is hard, I understand, Michael said to the over the top tired, still in the shirt I slept in, unshowered* me. But I think something might physically be wrong with you.

Straw. Camel. Bam.

Actually you DON'T understand. Being with the kids for 2 hours alone ISN'T like being with them for 6 hours or 12 hours or 2 days straight. It DOES something to me. It creates this exponential exhaustion that I just can't shake. Stop saying you understand! YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. You don't understand me. I can't talk to you or Greyson or Parker and sometimes I feel so misunderstood and lonely. When I get to leave the house and run errands and go to Physical Therapy and the grocery store and be a real girl- I'm fine...but the days I am here ALL DAY- it gets UNBEARABLE. It's twice as exhausting as being on the go. 

And he kept saying he understood, but he just didn't otherwise we wouldn't be having the conversation in the first place. 

Michael and I were raised so differently. Our family lives were very different. We were taught different skills. We speak different languages- but strangely use the same words. Yes, no, up down. He speaks to give facts or details, to fix, to suggest or to advise, to tell a story or to get something done. 

I talk for all those reasons too, but also-most importantly to express how I feel. What I need. What scares me. What makes me happy. To encourage. To share. Sometimes when I talk to him and I need him to listen or support me-- I feel like he gives me robotic or hallmark card responses because he knows he's supposed to say something- but just doesn't know what he's "supposed" to say.

That's great dear. 
Don't worry- it's not a big deal.
Good job with the boys! They are lucky to have you.

I don't feel heard. That's how I feel. In order to write this post I asked Michael where he thinks the disconnect lies...which is funny- I didn't do it to communicate or to help us, but to write. But somehow in the process- it did help us. 

Michael explained it like this- he feels like he speaks German and I speak French. And although he understands French- he doesn't know how to respond to me in French. And I'm left feeling mad, and very misunderstood. Très Triste.

I broke very important autism rule #208, DO NOT ARGUE WITH BEHAVIOR THERAPISTS IN THE HOUSE. But they are here A LOT. And sometimes I get mad off schedule. 

And we worked it out-ish and Michael left for work. Sorry, just genuinely concerned about your health and blah blah blah. I tried to lay back down but my heart was pounding and my head was racing. I called to get some labs done at my Doctor's office. Annoyed. Then I was quite busy arguing with Michael in my head. Perseverating my Friend Heather would say.

I see a Dear Friend's name appear on Caller ID and I almost don't answer the phone because I was a big pile of angry, sad poo.  I don't want her to feel or hear that. I didn't want to be that either. As much as I tell you it's okay to feel this or that- I realized- I RARELY allow myself to FEEL through my unhappy. As in really work it out and feel it and feel it through. When I can't pull myself out of it- I feel weak and broken. I used to run it out- but now I can't. I don't always know where to put it. How to feel it out. I am realizing it absolutely MUST get out.

And talking to her was like warm butter and funnel cakes with powdered sugar and everything good. I felt so heard and so not alone. I tricked myself into thinking I was the only person in the World all morning. The only one who really didn't have a thing about Life figured out. I realized that there are certain things that I simply MUST get from a girlfriend. Things that Michael just can't and shouldn't have to provide. It's like I'm looking to him to be my husband and my wife. God made him differently. In our Family- he really does do the hunting and I gather the berries and tend to the children. If roles were reversed I just couldn't do it. Neither could he. We are doing what we are supposed to be doing as best we can. As for the communication thing- we are working on it. We are slow learners, but we care, and we try.

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Apparently Grey was also having A DAY.

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Sometimes I'm scared how much I'm needed. Sometimes I'm scared because I can't see past the blurred lines of what I must do- what I must see-what I must help with and work towards and control-- in comparison to the frenzy of what I can't control- but I am trying so desperately to hold onto in Life. 

How do you let go to the very things you must also hold so tight? And all at the same time? How do you know what must be held with clenched fists- and what may be loved much more loosely and watched from afar? There is no- THE answer. Just an answer right for me. And I bet you have an answer right for you. I guess that's part of the journey of Life. Figuring out what you need to figure out and figuring out what just needs to be breathed through. Maybe I'll figure it out when I'm grown up. 

I want to share with you a VIDEO that Doodle and I closed down his day with. 

One of my favorite Glee experiences ever. The gentleman who sings the intro has a voice that sounds like Heaven to me, but probably not in a way I would have appreciated a few years ago. Back when I didn't realize that the ability to speak was an absolutely amazing gift. 

You may say I'm a Dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

Listening to this song makes me feel understood. Not alone. Tonight's post is dedicated to Martin Luther and his Dream speech, given 50 years ago today, and to Cory Monteith from Glee, who I'm sure is making sweet music in Heaven.

Thanks for being here. Like really being here. I can feel it.



*Spell check said unshowered is not a word. Spell check MUST be a man who gets to shower ALONE every single day. 

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  1. Oh, girl! Loved this post!! Sorry that you had a day! Stop perseverating on all the craziness and call me for drinks! :-) Love you, Friend!!

  2. I love this post too & your note about spell check is right on!

  3. Hang in there girl. Hopefully the good days will far outnumber the bad ones. I see this same stuff going on with my daughter who has a special needs child. One day a a time is the only advice I can give you. Your plate is full and the load is heavy but you will make it. Good people always do!

  4. Thank you for sharing! I have two boys with autism and there are days I lock myself in my room and crack open a diet coke to decompress! My husband said the exact same thing to me "I don't know why you are so tired?"

  5. Oh Chrissy, I don't even know you and after that I feel like I understand you completely. Marriage is hard. Young marriage is rough just in different ways but let me tell you, 2nd marriages & blended families...it takes an act of God! Gah! A long time ago, on the verge of ending my first marriage but having the epiphany that as a society, we have over feminized men and thus expect them to fulfill ALL our needs. They won't and they shouldn't. I learned that too late :) We need to return to relying on our Home Team girlfriends to really fill in the missing gaps. Women just get women but for some reason it's turned into more of a competition with many of us. We need to put down our armor and weapons and become each other's best allies.

  6. Let me tell you about my husband ... he's amazing, tries to be understanding, takes good care of me and our five kids. He tries to understand what it's like to be home(or running myriad errands!) 24/7, homeschool five kids (2 with Aspergers), take care of however many more land on my doorstep in the morning, run a household, and deal with my own debilitating autoimmune disorders, but he can't. He can't feel the deep physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion I feel each day, so he can't understand. And he doesn't listen in the same way my female friends listen - he tries to reassure and fix, they confirm how much it sucks and don't take my ranting personally. This, says my precocious five year old, is why she's having a husband AND a wife when she grows up.

  7. Loving you everyday Chrissy... thank you for your words. I choked on my LOL over "unshowered."

  8. I get it. Really, I do. My daughter is 19 months. I am a single (from day 1) mom and I work full time. This morning, my daughter had meltdown after meltdown as I was trying to get ready for work and anxiously watching the clock. After a couple of quick snuggles and (attempting) distraction, we scooted out the door - 15 minutes late. I was anxious because I'd be late for work, anxious that I left the house a mess, and mostly, anxious that I felt like a horrible mother. I know I am not a horrible mother, but I felt like it this morning. I wanted nothing more than to stay in our jammies and snuggle in the recliner with a stack of books a mile high. Heavenly. But, I had to get to work. I have to provide too and I was torn between providing physically or emotionally for my daughter. Tough way to start the day... It hurts my heart and I am constantly wondering what I can do to "fix" things, to make them better for both of us... I don't know if there's an answer.

    1. I guess I should note that I understand how life is hard. I haven't been married, so I don't understand all the complexities of that. But, for sure, life is tough.

  9. Of course you are exhausted. My daughter has 5 1/2 year old twins and her husband travels a lot so she is on 24/7 most weeks. I watched the boys this last weekend for 3 days and I tell you it is exhausting you have no down time. I think you are doing an amazing job. Good luck.

  10. Sweet friend, marriage IS hard. I won't go all KaiLan or Coldplay on you & Try to Fix You. I do agree we need our girlfriends to hear us. I know our lives are different & some of our challenges are different, but this is a place where I feel heard - where I can say Me, too!
    Happy Frank Truck Day. Love & Happiness to you, sweet momma. Jennifer

  11. Thank you for this post! I read your blog everyday because it does encourage me to keep going. I loved the part about being scared at how much you are needed. Daily this weighs on me and sometimes I can handle it, but a lot of time it does exhaust me. And my husband thinks I need to have a blood test to see if some thing is "off" too. :) thanks for reminding me I am not alone!

  12. Oh yes. Doing what you do every day has got to be more difficult, tiring and stressful than I can possibly imagine. (I work full-time at a nice office job with nice people, and have a fantastic full-time nanny who watches our two typical kids while I go to my office job. I know I've got it good.)
    I love my husband, and he makes my overall burden lighter, but at certain times, having another grown-up in the house makes it all harder. We don't need all the same things, and don't always see things the same way.
    So, in your situation, I can only imagine that the stress of your day-to-day life would surely make the day-to-day challenges of marriage harder. You're doing amazing things as a mother, and as a share-er. I hope Michael's trip is short, and that you get a break soon.

  13. PS: LOVED this episode of "Glee." Not sure if you watch "Project Runway" but last week was a similar tear-jerker.

  14. My kids are big and in school and I am blessed beyond measure with a husband who provides and a job that I do (part time) that is fulfilling, but my husband also travels extensively (50% of the time, on average, has a high profile job/career, and is locally involved in politics, so the whole "carrying the load" ideal rings so true with me. I get it, I get it, I get it. Thankful for your space here and the voice you give to so many...the video was a true tear-jerker. Blessings to you and yours today.

    I also laughed out loud at the "unshowered" bit, so true!

  15. To second what has already been said, you are not alone. Marriage is HARD, at any age. Anyone who says different isn't doing it right! We should be in relationships with people that challenge us because that is how we grow! I was married at 23. We weren't as set in our "adult" ways, but we had struggles of our own. And Woo, that video made me cry! So beautiful.

  16. 2 things: Number one- I love the Glee video!!! I haven't seen that one before. It made tears come to my eyes, then spill out and roll down my cheeks :)

    Number 2-I saw this video for this first time earlier this week and it made me kind of happy, and now your post brought me right back.

  17. i wish california and virginia were neighbors so we could be neighbors. we would be best friends. really.

  18. Picture the Pope with the big white hat now..."Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wuv, twue wuv, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wuv." ~The Princess Bride
    Chrissy, thank you for being honest. We don't talk about it because we are afraid to look lees then perfect for all the others who are most definitely perfect, in our minds at least.I am SO glad to know that at least you are along with me for the ride in our separate imperfect mawwiages :)
    ~A faithful reader

  19. thank you thank you thank you. i so often feel like i am the only one on the planet that thinks no one gets me, most devastatingly so, my husband. that man drives me nuts on the daily- "different languages" sums it up quite nicely! yet just when my mind wanders to dark places, some random redeeming quality will shine through and i am reminded that i picked him and he picked me back. humbling and humiliating, all at the same time. thank you again for this. your shiny light is bright, even far across the country!

  20. I love the ecard that says, "You know the feeling of being able to sit down when you're exhausted? Yeah, me neither. I'm not a dad." So true!

    Every once in awhile my girlfriends and I get a little honest about the really hard parts and it helps a lot to know that couple who seems to be best friends! has struggles too. That we all do. I got married when I was 29 and the hardest part for me was having to learn to really DEAL with another person's emotions. For all of my 20's I had roommates and when one was sad we'd make margaritas and when one was grumpy we'd all roll our eyes behind her back. But then I got married and realized that there wasn't a bedroom door between me and someone else's feelings anymore. Our emotions are all wrapped up together and that has been a very uncomfortable change for me. Six years into it, I still fail him pretty often where it comes to this.

  21. *Spell check said unshowered is not a word. Spell check MUST be a man who gets to shower ALONE every single day.
    THIS. I loved this.
    Thank you for your honesty and for making me feel less alone.