Brian and I are still adjusting to this school thing. This time I mean the part where he's a full-time student and what that means for his day. It has caused me to ask him often, "So what does your day look like today?"
I've begun to resent that question a little. OK, a lot. I've let it mean, "What are you going to do today without us that is all by yourself and I don't get to be by myself ever but you have flexibility in your day, so what are you going to do? And if you do have any free time, when can you come help me because I deserve a break too." I've also thought it was a new question since we moved here, and that it was one I would have never asked when we lived in Birmingham. I've let that question represent to me how we are living comparatively parallel lives and not keeping in touch as much as we used to. The newness of the question has made me fearful that it will not get better when we're finished with school. Like that the truth is we're actually growing apart and not our circumstances alone.
Well, I had an epiphany this morning. This is NOT a new question. What it means is not new to us. We have always had things that we did apart from each other. The difference is that there is no routine for either of us right now.
In Bham, we did specific things on specific days, and there was not much variety from week to week. There were specific and regular hours for work, meetings, and rest/play. I didn't have to ask when he was busy beause I already knew what to expect. I also knew when the rest of us could plan on seeing him and getting some good, quality Brian time.
Here in STL, we do have some regular things on the calendar, but most things in our lives are very flexible. Tests for him come in waves, so his study-time requirements wax and wane. He may need to leave after dinner to study some days and not others. He fits in work at the church or his yardwork job where ever he can in the week too. That means that I am left not knowing what to expect (remember, I like a plan), specifically when we (I!) will get that good, quality Brian time. I feel like I'm in competition for his time MUCH MORE than I was before and getting MUCH LESS of it than I had in Bham.
My epiphany showed me that this is not entirely true. I realized the not knowing when I get Brian-time is exaggerating my sense of not having any. This is huge to me. How much more gracious am I when I understand this bigger-picture view of what's happening! I have been outwardly gracious, but grumbling in my heart. And I fight the grumblys by numbing out. In order to not dive into resentment, I've gotten increasingly numb toward our "parallelness."
Well, I feel better. More joyful already. Because now that I can say what the problem is, I can take steps toward making it better!