Thursday, May 15, 2008

I've been waiting a long time to write this post...

For almost 10 years, I've worked a 9 - 5 job (well, 7:30 - 6 some days and 7:30 - 4 others, but you know what I mean). My husband has worked at least 4 nights a week most weeks, often more than that, on top of the breakfast and lunch shifts. There were years where we would go to bed on Sunday nights and I wouldn't see him awake again until Thursday evenings. Saturday breakfast together became a sacred act -- often the only time in a week where we had a chance to really catch up, but even that was with an eye on the clock.

Lots of people live like this -in this metro area many couples see each other only on the weekends or in quick hand-offs of the kids. In the restaurant business, couples usually work in the same industry so the late nights aren't a big deal, 'cause they're both working them. In my circle of friends both people in the couple work standard hours, so the availability of their husbands to do fun things without 2 weeks notice was always a point of covetousness for me.

I learned to be comfortable doing things by myself. I'm a Myers-Briggs INTJ, so I am definitely someone who likes personal quiet time, and going to parties or out-of-town weddings or other larger group things without the security blanket of a partner pushed me waaaay out of my comfort zone.

I learned to be more of a cruise director than I would ever want to be -- the winning trivia team of More Cow Bell came from wanting to be out of the house more, Euchre games and Sunday dinners were ways to keep my husband feeling socially connected to a great group of people outside of his day-to-day world, and "dates" with friends for Wednesday dinner out or Barry Manilow concerts were ways for me to still do the fun things that make up living in a great city.

I learned that time together was precious -- nothing we don't want to do together gets scheduled on Sunday afternoons or evenings.

I learned to knit, work jigsaw, crossword, and Sudoku puzzles, and work on my mad Karaoke skills when no one was around. I learned that if you talk to my cat, she often answers back.

What I didn't learn in all that time was how to be a wife 7 days a week. I don't know how to share a small apartment with someone I see every day. I don't know how to plan a week's worth of dinners. I don't know how to do my own thing when there is someone else around to hang out with. I don't know how to schedule things when there is someone else to consider.

But I'm going to learn. A new job here starts Monday -- they need people on days, and even if it's an evening shift, wine associates roll out at 10:15. There is a steep discount. Life is going to be sweet, sweeter even than it's been over the last 10 years. I have a feeling that Saturday breakfast could still be a sacred thing.

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