I’ve been married for 18 years and have 2 kids (Both are girls), so “Jesus, take the wheel” is a very daily statement around here. I have been home with them since the day we brought them home, every single day, all.the.day.long. See, my husband is cursed with many gifts, therefore staying very busy most weeks. There were and still are mornings that as he says goodbye for the day, I feel many different emotions. I think “I’m so blessed that I get to stay home with my kids and create all these memories and not miss a milestone, etc. Yet at the same time would also think “I’m suffocating, I’m lonely and feeling bitter.” I would often be channeling my inner Ariel inside my head singing ” Wish I could be part of that world”. And if you think its impossible to feel all those emotions at one time, you my friend are not a woman or maybe, you do not have any blessed little ones yet.
My husband arrives home from work usually between 5-6. He’ll walk through the door, hug the girls, hug me and then say, “What did you do today?” or maybe he’s feeling brave and asks “What did you get done today?” I remember the day he asked that one, he was lucky that day because he happened to be wearing a hat and he just looked so darn cute. Today, he asked “So, how was your day?”
The question just hangs as I look at him, trying to gauge if he was being sincere, funny, sarcastic, and then which kind of sarcastic, trying to make out the pitch and tone of his voice and what all did he mean????? Meanwhile, I’ve asked my 10 year to get off youtube for the 38th time and to take my bra off and to stop watching strange womens labor and delivery stories. My 2 year old is outside in the pool with her swim instructor having her 1st lesson and I can hear her telling her instructor, “no, no, I wanna do it myself” with a little bit of a monster voice and then I hear the instructor say “Skylar, please stop kicking me with water.” Poor instructor, We are probably now on the black list. I look at the custom made fireplace that Skylar had just drawn some artwork on with a black sharpie that same morning, my pee soaked shorts cause we are in potty training season and well, need I tell you how thats going, unwashed hair, chipped fingernails and coffee breath and I pause. Freeze time. Lets go into my head for a second.
How was my day??? Hum, wellllllllll (really dragged out ) today felt like eternity. There were moments when my heart was so full I could have exploded and then there were other moments when my senses were under assault that I think I did explode. I was both lonely and desperate to be alone. I counted down the minutes til nap time and then the second I layed down my 2 year old I couldn’t wait for the moment to go nuts kissing her sweet face! I was bored out of my mind and completely overwhelmed with so much to do at the same time. Today dragged on, yet there wasn’t enough time. It was loud and silent. I was at my best and then, a moment later, at my very worst. I think around 2:00 I imagined us moving to Haiti and taking over our favorite orphanage, adopting each of those kids as our own and then a hour later, I thought what if we give up our kids we already have for adoption and move to Bora-Bora. Hubby-when there are 3 girls and all of us have several personalities(jk);) and we all have crazy hormones – it becomes super difficult to explain the question, “How was my day”
I’m too tired to say all of that. So, sometimes I would cry, or yell or just say fine and tell him I got errands to do meaning TARGET RUN!!!! Go to target, order my grande iced vanilla latte and wander the aisles, thinking “please God, let me run into a friend, somebody I know, anybody will do Lord.” In those moments, I often feel sad and hurt because I just want to be seen and known. The days just seem impossible to explain.
In one of my many self help books or a blog, I read how we should ask each other better questions. Whether it be spouse, child, friendship-if we really care to know them, we need to ask them better questions, specific questions and then really listen. This quote hit me straight in my face, “If we don’t want throwaway answers, we can’t ask throwaway questions.”
It doesn’t always happen, but now we try to ask more thought out questions. Ones that hopefully will set us up for success.
What did I do today that made you feel appreciated?
What can I do to help you right now? -my fav!!!
I also use it on my 10 year old when I pick her up from school. I no longer ask, “How was your day?” because she has noooooooo clue. It was the worst of days, it was the best of days. One moment, her best friend was one girl and then 10 minutes later, it is a different girl. A specific question is going to give me a more clear answer and more of a window into her day. So, now i ask
How do you feel about your spelling test?
Did you play anything fun during recess?
Do you feel proud of yourself today?
What if we viewed our questions the same way we viewed giving a gift to a close friend? Giving a thoughtful gift requires us to really listen and know that person. The more personal and specific the gift the more the receiver will feel genuinely loved and known. If thought out and purposeful our questions can evoke the same response as that perfect gift. Love is specific. Love is personal. Love is being known.