I know, second time tonight, but sometimes things race through my head and I have to get them out so expect this a lot.
My mother remarried a few years ago. My husband and I (Dub him Mr. Mustard) flew down to Texas to attend the wedding. Now this was a huge deal because first off this was the first time we had left our children with someone for an extended period of time and secondly, I am terrified of flying. I want you to understand this, when I say terrified I mean I am so scared that I was beginning to cry as we boarded, and I was sobbing uncontrollably as we taxied. Don’t even get me started on my near death experience on the trip home when we hit a storm and the buckle up sign came on and the pilot came over the speakers. That’s for later on. Anyways, we flew down to Texas, and it was during a time that Mr. Mustard and I were not exactly in a very compatible phase. To put it bluntly he had moved out of the bedroom and into the spare room, we barely spoke and kept it civil for the sake of appearances. Alone it was a totally different story. We barely spoke to each other on the plane, each opting to do their own activity, for him it was a game on his phone and for me it was clutching my arm rest while staring out the window in absolute terror wondering if I’d die of lack of oxygen first or if my heart would give out from panic if the plane were to fall out of the sky at that moment.
The wedding was beautiful, Texas was amazing, the culture was pretty crazy for us country yokels and it was a much needed break from whatever it was we were trying to get away from. The night our flight was leaving for home my mom and her new husband decided to try and break the ice in the air as they gave us a small tour of Dallas. My mom kind of gave me one of her lectures about what it means to be a wife and what that entails and I responded with one of my bites of snark and an eye roll. I felt like Mr. Mustard was being painted like a saint and I was the devil. Then she said this to me, “Have you thought of maybe letting him lead for once?” to which I responded “Um yeah and every time I do he screws it up mom…..every bloody time!”. It was dark in the car but I could see the pain in his face and I felt remorse for a moment. But then I didn’t care. Then I carried on with a tirade about how I had to pick up the slack and run the house because someone had to and every time something went wrong I was blamed but if something went right he got all the credit. At that point they decided it was better if we rode in silence. I agreed after I declared that I was not inferior because my plumbing is interior and his is exterior and that I do NOT walk behind ANY man.
We finally had our break through moment a month or two later. He cornered me and demanded to know exactly why I hated him so much. At first I refused and yelled at him to get away from me, but he wouldn’t let me go and kept demanding to know what he had done. So it all came spilling out and I told him exactly what he had done. He had abandoned me when I needed him most, during our first test and he had failed miserably and he had never ever tried to make up for it or apologized. He knew exactly what I was talking about, when we lost our first child. He refused to help me get through that pain and instead put up walls and played video games. If he saw me crying he’d leave the room and not even offer me a hug. He couldn’t deal with it. Then one day during a huge argument he said to me “Well if you were a better mother you wouldn’t have lost Matthew”….It was like he had plunged a knife into my stomach and twisted it. The look on his face after he said it, I could see he wished he could take it back. Never got an apology. This built up for so long. It finally poured out and became this rage. I had to confront these demons, we had to air it all out. It all came out, it was confession time. I realized that all this time I was tearing him down instead of building him up. Of course he was going to screw up! So now I let him lead but I am standing right next to him encouraging him and placing my trust in his decisions. Because of this he asks me for my thoughts and values my opinions. Our children are growing up to see how a husband should be and how a husband should treat his spouse. We are equals but we also hold each other up. And with that my hands are falling asleep.