Sep. 15, 2017

Choices

I’m going to burst everyone’s bubble.  Tommy Archer isn’t perfect. He’s close, but he does have some issues. 

Tommy and I married young. When we made that decision, it required that he go to college while we were newlyweds and young parents. 

The good news is he got his college education. The bad news is he worked, parented, attended school and had to complete homework (including research papers) while being newly-married and a new parent. When you add in the fact he joined the Deer Park Volunteer Fire Department in 1981, I’m a saint and I deserve the majority of his “I-Love-Me-Wall” awards (pictured here). 

One thing Tommy did because of his tight schedule and demands was pass his research papers on to me at the last minute. He typically handed me a research paper to type for him the night before it was due. Now, keep in mind, we didn’t have computers back then. 

I had to type, including the bibliography, the required research papers at the end of each course. I usually stayed up most of the night to complete his paper. Besides proof reading and editing, I had to type and move the roller in order to insert the numbers for footnotes and works cited. I realize I just lost most of you under the age of 35. 

So, I’ve decided I also want a piece of Tommy’s degrees and certifications. Hey, it could happen. 

Here’s my point: Towards the end of Tommy’s college career, I had to put up some boundaries for my sanity.  Now, remember, he was working, going to school, co-parenting, doing homework, and was a newlywed but guess what? So was I. When he worked, I worked until my children were born and then I really worked. He went to school, which meant I kept the kids in the evenings despite his being gone all day. I parented 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He did homework, which meant I kept the kids quiet and occupied for him to do his homework. In other words, I did the home work. I was married to him = also a newlywed.  To top it off, I had to meet the deadlines given by his instructors.  Do you feel sorry for me, yet? 

There came a time that I had to say to Tommy, “What constitutes an emergency for you doesn’t necessarily constitute an emergency for me. If you wait until the last minute, I will do the best I can. It would work better for all of us, kids included, for you to complete your assignments in time for me to type them. Thank you very much.” I am certain I added, “and thank you very much.”   

The moral of my story is we cannot expect people to buy into our panic, worry, stress, drama, paranoia, anger, well, anything that we either create for ourselves or allow into our lives.

Here’s the bottom line: What constitutes an emergency for me doesn’t necessarily constitute an emergency for everyone else. If I wait until the last minute, choose to panic, obsess with worry, stress out, create my own drama, remain paranoid as opposed to balanced thinking, and get mad – I am in the boat all by myself. I shouldn’t expect other people to absorb my offenses or pick up my burden. “Not my baby to rock; not my bill to pay.” (A saying Tommy and I came up with as we’ve aged.) 

I put up with Tommy’s procrastination 40 years ago. He’s put up with me ever since. Hey, maybe he is perfect?