Sunday, August 30, 2009
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.