At our favorite brewery, Vista Brewing in Driftwood, TX where we love to get away for an afternoon. Fun fact, we also celebrated our marriage here the day after our wedding!
So a few weeks ago I’m rushing upstairs from the garage with my overflowing school purse, lunch cooler, and gym bag slung around both shoulders, my laptop and water bottle in my arms. And by rushing I mean I’m basically crawling on my knees by the time I reach the landing where my husband is folding laundry with an expression that I can only describe as resigned amusement.
You see, for a year now he’s been trying to show me that I don’t need to schlep all the grocery bags, school work, kid stuff, suitcases, whatever it may be that is in my car, all by myself. He runs down to help as soon as he hears me stubbornly huffing and puffing my way inside. He asks me again and again to please just call him when I’m pulling in and he’ll meet me at the car to help. Do I listen? No. I smile and nod. I say thank you, I love you. And then the next time I try to do it all by myself again. It’s not that I have anything to prove. When I was single, the fantasy of having someone help me carry bags inside was an appealing reason to start dating again. It’s more that as a single mom it was up to me to juggle all moving parts if life was to work smoothly. That meant carrying in all the bags at the same time.
So on this particular evening my husband let me struggle all the way upstairs. He took in the sight of me with a million bags, out of breath in my sweaty yoga pants, and smiled at me with such open acceptance and love it broke my heart. I knew I should have asked him for help, I’m just not programed that way anymore.
Yes, we work as equal partners in all of our decisions, parenting, chores, etc., but when it comes to the daily minutiae my brain still functions as a single mama. It’s the what if I’m a burden fear, the I’ve got to be in control fear. It’s a messy mix of past experiences + rabbit holes + a false sense of control that is simply no bueno. When the lies and fears quiet down my beautiful reality is that I have THE most amazing partner. He makes me feel safe. He’s steadfastly calm. He’s hilarious. He’s authentic. He loves my child like his own. His focus is his family. He loves God. And he’s HOT! Like what am I doing fighting this man about helping me!?!
So there we were, staring at each other, my bags slipping down my shoulders. “How are you?” he asked. I quickly rattled off in one breath, “Good I went to the gym after school and have 5 minutes to shower before I run to pick up Sofia from gymnastics and then I’ll make dinner.” He set the laundry down and looked at me, and I swear there was a twinkle in his eye. “That’s a lot to do,” he said. My bags were now down around my wrists, strangling my fingers. I was smelly, tired, and realized just how ridiculously I was behaving. I sort of giggled and mumbled, “I know,” while looking anywhere but at him. He took a step towards me and asked me if perhaps THIS was an opportunity to try out something new. We both knew I could choose to pretend not to know what he was talking about. But I think I was finally ready to let my inner single mama go. Not to say goodbye. She shaped me into who I am today and I love that. But to let go, just a little. I finally let my bags slide to the floor and told him that it would be super helpful if he would pick up Sof from gymnastics so I could take a shower and get dinner started. “I’d love to,” he said.
Every grocery store run is now a chance to set a new normal. I consciously remind myself to leave most of the bags in the trunk because guess what? I don’t have to carry all of the bags in at once by myself. It’s much more fun to carry them in with that guy sitting next to me around the fire pit.