(Gladstone, OR) – I blew it with my wife last night.
This week is tough on my family. Normally I’m working from home and can interchange family time with work. However, this week, because we’re at a large convention, I have assigned duties and it makes it hard to be with the Fam. There are kids programs so my wife is dropping off our 3 y.o. daughter and then taking our infant son to his program. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave her available to attend any adult programs. So, this makes for some stress.
“It’s just hair”
As we were walking back to the motel last night, my wife was lamenting about some of our “friends.” None of them mentioned her new haircut or coloring. This was a huge step for her, since I was not in favor of it from the get go. Being kind of a hippie at heart, I go for the more natural look. For me, it seems that it is very trendy for women to put highlights in their hair – and this gives them either a trashy, trendy, or “desperate-housewives” look.
So, for her to go out and do this, was a big step for her. I’m proud that she went against my wishes (and I need to tell her that), but I still don’t think it adds to her beauty.
Anyway, last night she mentioned how no one, from our new circle of friends has commented on her hair. For a woman, this is huge. For me, the less comments the better. It’s just hair.
I was distracted though. Wasn’t reading between the lines. Was wrapped up in my own crap.
Strike 1 – When I got to the room, we talked some, then I drifted over to the laptop and got lost into the ether. I’m not getting enough “me” time this week. Am having trouble being around all these people. And this 250 sq.ft. room has no place to hide. So, without thinking, I quit listening and drifted to my feed reader. “Uh-huh,” I said. “I’m listening….uh-huh…”
Strike 2 – I browsed over to see a friend request on FaceBook and called my wife over to see the picture of an old friend. A younger, very attractive, and very vivacious friend. “See,” I commented. “That’s what I mean when I say look at younger women to get hairstyle ideas.”
Strike 3 – “Why are you being defensive. I’m just talking.” I defended. “I’m not comparing you to her. I’m just making a suggestion.”
“Dang! I am SO stupid!”
In the meantime, our overstimulated daughter began to go into her post-10pm meltdown. Our overtired son began to claw at mommy’s breasts saying, “nya, nya, nya!” His way of asking to nurse. It began to dawn on me that my need for solace and quiet and alone-time was not going to happen. It began to dawn on me that this is one of those times that as “The Dad,” I was going to have to put aside my needs and focus on my family.
I put my daughter on the couch (thank goodness this is a suite) and asked her to be quiet for five minutes. I gave her a book to read. While mommy lay in bed, nursing our son, I brushed my teeth and did all those other pre-bedtime tasks. With the lull in the storm, I had a moment to think:
“I hadn’t done anything wrong. Right? It’s OK to make observations. It’s OK to make suggestions. I have a right to my opnions. Why is she so bummed? Why the tears and frustration?
“Sheesh, come on woman, cowboy-up!”
And then it hit me:
“Oops! I wasn’t reading between the lines. She was already not feeling embraced or accepted by her so-called friends. She was already feeling self-conscious about her hair. She was already thinking how ugly she must look. And then, what do I do? I pile it on.
“The one person she trusts. Her best-best-friend. And I blew it.
“Screw my pride. Screw my agenda. Screw my selfish attitude and opinions.”
I walked over to her bedside and put my arms around her (the best I could, because she was nursing) and told her I was sorry. I hadn’t read between the lines and wasn’t paying attention. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was an idiot!
The tears flowed and everything she said confirmed my thoughts above.
I can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, and I can’t take my words back. I hate my selfishness.
“I can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube”
I knew I was a selfish jerk before I got married. I spent most of my life trying to become the perfect jerk, because I thought that’s how one succeeds in earning respect. Last night was a reminder that I’m not fully recovered yet.
I still have much to unlearn about being a jerk. And I have much to learn about the beautiful woman in my life. In my mind, she is perfect. Still. I need to tell her that more often.