My husband is so patient and long-suffering. Take, for example, this conversation a few weeks ago:
Me: Remember two years ago when I mentioned casually, just once, that I wanted to _______ ?
Him: Um…? (It was dark in the car but I imagine him wide-eyed, blinking in the silence.)
Me: I didn’t really tell you that it was important to me, but I’ve been angry about not getting to do it ever since.
Him: I didn’t know you wanted to so badly.
Me: I know. That’s because I didn’t tell you!!! Why am I like that?
Him: Um….(more blinking)
Me: But I have still resented not getting to do it, even though I didn’t really tell you.
Me: You can’t be sorry! You didn’t do anything wrong!
Him: Um…(blink, blink…blink?)
Somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that it’s more noble not to articulate what I want, you know, so I’m not one of those selfish wives or mothers. But what’s the point of that if I secretly resent it and let that resentment bubble into anger? That doesn’t seem healthy. And it’s silly because it’s not as if I have a controlling husband who will deny me my wishes. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s probably just me internalizing every Mother’s Day talk I’ve ever heard at church for the last 42 years: Mothers are selfless. Mothers don’t have any desire other than to see their families happy. Mothers are soft-spoken and sweet and perfect.
Although I started this blog as a way to get off my couch and get a life, I’ve noticed a pesky little side effect from all my mini-adventures: Introspection. It’s really annoying. Can’t I just go have fun without having to unpack a bunch of baggage in the process? That seems unnecessary, in my opinion. And now it’s seeping into other parts of my week, especially now that I’ve tried to stop using busy-ness as a way to avoid it.
And it just so happens that this most recent peek into my warped subconscious came at just the right time. Last week was spring break, which for me means a whole week off of teaching and accompanying. My husband doesn’t get that week off, so we never plan vacations – I usually spend the week entertaining my children by going to all the same local family attractions packed with zillions of kids. This year, however, my mother-in-law invited my kids to spend the week with her in St. George. (Some mothers really are selfless and sweet, apparently.)
This meant that I, for those five days, had no kids to entertain and no lessons to teach. I had five days to be selfish so I could finally let go of the one thing I had been resenting for two years and take some time to figure out why I’m such a weirdo about that sort of thing. My husband thought that was an excellent idea. I decided to call it my “Whatever I Feel Like I Wanna Do. Gosh!” Week.
It sounds pretty amazing, but my Whatever I Feel Like activities probably sound pretty boring to anyone else, so I’ll just give some of the highlights. The point is that everything I chose to do or not do was exactly what I wanted to do or not do, and that felt pretty good.
I exercised, I went to bed early, I got a nice haircut, and one day I even took a nap in my car in the parking lot of the rec center instead of exercising because it was sunny and warm outside and I was sleepy and because I felt like it. I went to a different temple each day of the week, I read a lot of books, and I ate out at my favorite restaurants. I didn’t cook or do dishes at all.
My favorite day was Thursday. After getting to see my mom at the Draper temple, I drove downtown to the LDS Church History Museum because I’d never been there and because I felt like it. Gosh. I didn’t realize how cool the International Art Competition exhibit would be. Actually, I had no idea it was even at that museum – I just wandered into it. I loved the variety of entries and I enjoyed reading the description that accompanied each piece. And that part of the museum didn’t have nearly as many kids as the next floor down. (Why would I want to hang out with other people’s kids? Gosh!)
I realized that I was only a few blocks from our friend’s restaurant that I’ve been meaning to try, so I got a table for one at Caffé Molise and finally got to see what all the hype was about. Did you know that salmon can actually, literally, no lie, melt in your mouth? I was in heaven. Heaven!
Then I walked over to the Tabernacle to watch my first-ever open rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Look, there’s my prom date! And my prom date’s wife! (Actually, I couldn’t make out any faces to find my friends, but it was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes.)
After the week was over, I was relaxed and rested and probably ten pounds heavier. My kids returned grubby and happy, and judging from the number of Rice Krispies Treats wrappers I found in all their pockets, I think I understand why.
My mother-in-law was probably happy to pass them back off to me, but she hid it well. And as we jumped straight into a crazy concert and work and school schedule again, I’ve been even more grateful for the rare opportunity I was given last week. And I’m sure my husband’s glad I’m no longer mad at him for that thing he didn’t know I wanted because I never told him how much I wanted it (bless him, poor guy). Best spring break EVER!