Sunday, August 30, 2009

Appreciation

It's easy to throw around words of appreciation and gratitude. "Thank you for mowing the grass, honey." "Thank you for doing the dishes, sweetheart." "I appreciate you moving that furniture for me, babe." But a surefire way to really gain a strong sense of appreciation is to do the chore that your partner normally does. Jeff has the tear in his shoulder. It's a tear in his right anterior labrum. He's going through physical therapy in the hopes of avoiding surgery. He is supposed to limit a lot of what he does with that shoulder- which is hard because the tendon that connects that muscle also connects to his bicep (or something like that) so he uses it All. The. Time. Picking up kids, getting dressed, reaching for things. He's doing his at home exercises and doing his best to limit himself but it's a challenge. He has a hard time asking for help. Hard to believe a man would have trouble asking for help, I know. Allow me to jump back in time to when Jeff and I first bought our house. I wanted to mow the lawn. Crazy, I know. The environmentalist in me wanted an electric mower- just like my parents had. So, since I said I wanted to mow, Jeff agreed and bought the mower I wanted. And then he refused to let me mow. He didn't want the neighbors to think that his wife had to mow the lawn. Whatever. After a few years, he gave up the electric and bought a gas powered mower. And still refused to let me mow. I offered many times- in fact, any time that I felt like I was "nagging" him to do it, I would offer to do the mowing. And he always refused. Today, it had to be done. As we approached the end of the day, he hesitated so I, again, offered. He took me up on it. He did bath time and bedtime and I mowed. The man needs to learn to ask for help. Because there is NO WAY he could have mowed the lawn. No way. Not without serious pain and potential further injury. Maybe I should have realized it. But since I'm never "allowed" to mow, I had forgotten how strenuous it is on the shoulders, biceps, neck, etc. And it made me appreciate his injury. And it made me appreciate his mowing. I came in, got a great shower, and told him that he can't mow for the rest of the season. That's when he finally admitted that he had gotten mad when I told him the lawn had to be mowed this weekend. He knew he couldn't do it. But he couldn't tell me that he needed help. So not only did I accomplish something by mowing our lawn this evening, I also learned something really important about my husband. He truly needs me to be in tune with his needs and, yes, even be a bit of a mind reader. And isn't that what we all kind of need? We have to be able to ask for help. He knows that, I know that. But we all want to be cared for, feel cared about. And I hope I accomplished that by mowing the lawn for my husband... and letting him know that I'll be mowing the lawn the rest of the mowing season. Because I love him. Because I need his shoulder to get better. Because he deserves it.

11 comments:

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

I know a woman who mows because she loves the exercise involved with it. She loves the feeling of accomplishment as well. So I say, tell Jeff you are the new mower period.

Flartus said...

Man, I wish Miss Chef was embarrassed having her wife do all the mowing...grumble, grumble.

But yeah, I am amazed at people who pay somebody else to do their yardwork, and turn around and pay a gym membership.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I really have been asking and asking to do it. And I did enjoy it last night. So I guess there is a part of me that is happy to have him take the mowing season off. Not only to let his shoulder heal but also to let me do some yard work!

Eternally Distracted said...

Awww, lovely post. I think my partner is having a brain transplant at the mo as things that wouldn't normally get done are miraculously completed - Rest assured I appreciate it! :))

I hope your husbands shoulder heals quickly

Teacher Tom said...

Nice! =)

Kristi said...

I actually enjoy mowing the lawn too. My husband doesn't like for me to do it either, because he feels it is his responsibility. Like you said, whatever. I don't mind at all and it makes more sense for me to do it. I only work part time, he works full time commutes. He's allergic to grass, I'm not. I get to spend lots of time with the girls, he gets very little time. So I hate to see him out there mowing. He also recently hurt his back so I insisted I do it until he feels better. He still does the edging, trimming, etc. but I mow. And I actually like the excersize and solitude for those couple of hours.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I did enjoy the workout of it. And I enjoyed the hour of solitude outside with my music and my mower. Added workout bonus- the auto drive thingy is busted so you have to really push and pull the mower to make it go. Yes, it was hard work. Yes, I got sweaty. And Yes! I enjoyed it!

Taryn said...

Great entry, Liz! I can't say I feel any camaraderie as far as mowing goes - HATE it. Hands down, least favorite chore. One season of mowing at my first house (bought when I was single) and I was more than happy to pay a neighbor kid instead. But I can totally relate to the appreciation - because I REALLY appreciate never having to do it anymore!

yodaobi said...

That's lully.
Hubbie just recently confided in me that he REALLY loves being called babe.
I didn't even know I did it.

♥ Braja said...

Thoughtful, Liz...:)

mimbles said...

I'm always slightly flummoxed by the gender assigning of various household chores, I mean, I know it happens but it seems so alien to me. My parents, and many other adults I knew well as a kid, shared both indoor and outdoor jobs on the basis of whoever was available to do it at the time. So I grew up assuming that mowing was an equal opportunity task. And seeing as Adam and I both hate it equally, we pay someone else to do it :P

Shoulder injuries are a bugger, so limiting. I hope Jeff's heals quickly.