Lately, I’ve been feeling like Tom Hanks.
Not Tom Hanks all Forrest Gump-y. I’m not feeling like musing poetically on chocolate, or shrimp fishing, or being in the right place at the right time, or Ginny, or even running. I’m feeling like my life is like a FedEx production.
I am Chuck Noland, mostly time-obsessed. (I just had to look up what his character’s name was in the movie Cast Away.) When I refer to the movie I just say, “Willlsonnn! I’m sorry Wilson!” I don’t have a Wilson, I have a real life husband, and family. But our lives are pretty much run on Fed Ex-like timing and schedules. That saying of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ does translate to us, somehow, if you relate it to time.
I am a scheduler by nature. And if you dig a little deeper you see that it’s a need for control. No problem: as long as I know what’s when I am pretty happy and can be accommodating. It’s harder when you involve other people, or want to coordinate schedules.
My husband has an accommodating and flexible work schedule. Generally this works well because he can get home to be with the kids when I need to go run. A flexible schedule means some accommodations, but it doesn’t mean it is always available to accommodate what my personal schedule needs. And between his late nights, and my evening runs and then early bedtimes, we are barely seeing one another. Never mind that there are also two kids to fit in there somehow and kids seem to stretch out bedtime like it’s the last 10 km of a marathon: the closer you get to the finish line the more the remaining distance increases.
The other day, both haggard and exhausted, my husband gave me a hug and asked if we were like two ships passing in the night. I answered that it was more like we were two shits. You get the idea. We are doing what we can, but taking the time to carve out time for our relationship is another thing to schedule. Certainly this falls by the wayside more often than not.
I believe the advice that a good relationship is the best thing you can give your kids. How many of us have come from homes that sometimes lacked a sense of respect, or were witness to fights, or the passive-aggressive silent treatments, and then maybe divorce? That sure worked well for us to figure out our own relationships. We learned what we didn’t want, but of course the knee-jerk reaction is already ingrained in us. When we are frustrated and overwhelmed, who do we tend to sound like?
No one in my family has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, or is in a situation where their shelf life is predetermined. We will all die some day. I guess making time for what -and who- is important in our lives also means paying attention to what we are doing (instead) with that time.
In the movie, Chuck Noland came home four years later to his wife. She had since accepted the fact that he’d perished in his downed Fed Ex plane crash. She remarried and had a family. They still loved one another, but schedules kept them apart.
I think I’ll schedule some time with my husband, rather than without.