Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Open Letter To My Wife

[Editor's note: I both feared and somehow knew this day would come - once we were both blogging. I hope that you, Gentle Reader, will give me some license to use a bit of snark in writing about a topic I take deadly seriously.]

In the Middle-Aged Woman's other blog ('cause you can never have too many), she has recently posted about her dread of returning to work as a sixth-grade teacher. This is nothing new. We are fast approaching the one-year anniversary of Teaching Dread. When you still don't want to do something after a whole year, I think the warning lights and sirens are supposed to come on.

Anyway, on her other blog, the MAW said:

Husband feels this is simply another expression of my desire to do "something else." That whatever I find myself doing, what I want to be doing is "something else."
Although I have not been substantively misquoted, the quote is woefully incomplete - and therefore I don't feel that it accurately represents my thoughts or feelings on the topic.

But, Ladies and Gentlemen, isn't it convenient that I, too, have a blog*. So here's...The Rest Of The Story.

When the MAW first expressed to me** (three nights ago by time this is published) how she was starting to "freak out" over the idea of returning to work soon, she spoke primarily of her concerns that the procedures to eliminate her back pain had not yet borne full fruit (and whether they would ever do so) and that continued need for painkillers would also be a problem.
Because I'm a guy, I decided to ask at the outset of the conversation whether this was one of those times when I was supposed to listen and empathsize (I read somewhere that women really like that sometimes) or if my role was to offer suggestions, direct feedback, try to "fix it" (all the stuff guys just love to do; I think I read that somewhere too). The MAW said I should play it the way I felt it.

So toward the end of our conversation, after taking a few minutes to process all the "new sh*t [that had] come to light", I offered the following comment:
[It ain't verbatim - but it's good enough]

Well, I think your fear over returning to work has three primary components:

One part is the amount of anxiety you would be feeling about returning to school any year, under any circumstance. This is normal stuff - to be expected - don't let it get the best of you.

A second part is the worry resulting from your continuing back pain. But since the timetable outlined by the doctor for expecting full relief has not yet expired - and you won't have to return to work for a full two weeks after that - let's withholding judgement and continue to hope for the best. Still, you must be sure to share your anxiety over any on-going pain and the need for medication - as well as your fears regarding a full, pain-free recovery - when you see the doctor.

The last part is your continuing struggle with the desire to be doing "something else." It seems to be the general rule that, after a while, whatever you are doing ceases to be the thing that you want to be doing.
One more thing and I'll wrap this up. Around the time school let out, the MAW and I talked about whether she would return to teaching in the fall. Even before we spoke, she had let the school administration know that she didn't expect to be back. I told her at that time, if she couldn't or didn't wish to return, we'd just have to change our way of living in order to do without her salary.

So that's The Rest Of The Story. There's a lot more to come on this story, I'll bet. I, for one, am just full of ideas and opinions on the whole situation. Nurturing happiness, making and keeping commitments, dealing with pain and stress - it looks like I'm set for material on Meaning of Life posts for the foreseeable future.

Of course, living and blogging aren't the same thing. I guess we'll have to see just how close to one another they are.

Take care.

* Just this one - at least until Wednesday when I unleash a new blog upon an unsuspecting world with the inaugural edition of He Read / She Read! Actually, I'm hoping that the world - or at least some part of it - won't be completely unsuspecting. So please, tell your friends & plan to stop by and read it for yourself. Sprite's Keeper and I are hoping you will let us know what you think of it.

** The 2009 Edition of Teaching Dread


Middle Aged Woman said...

I suspect and hope that MLM will be able to help me with some of this.

The Stiletto Mom said...

" It seems to be the general rule that, after a while, whatever you are doing ceases to be the thing that you want to be doing."

That is SO TRUE. And you do have plenty of fodder for your meaning of life posts.

Jim Styro said...

MAW: As a very good friend of mine says - "These things have a way of resolving themselves." I'm rootin' for you and MLM.

S&M: Do find this to be equally true of men & women? Or do you think one or the other gender is more inclined to seek out change over time?

I will readily admit that I have very little understanding of the phenomena. I've seen it in action - but rarely,
if ever, felt it.

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