Monday, April 26, 2010

Busy but not moving forward

Our little family of three attended a birthday party together this weekend, but we were never really in the same place together for very long. Little Miss often went off looking for new furniture to scale or remotes to explore, and one of us usually had to abruptly break away from adult conversation to tail her. In the midst of babysitting my own kid - although I think the word is parenting - I overheard My Guy talking about my blog (yes, this very one) on more than one occasion to a few friendly faces. I could hear the pride in his voice. And the love. And I was unexpectedly flooded with warmth.

So he wasn't lying when he said he liked it. Huh. Whaddya know. Asking a supportive partner his opinion and receiving a positive response was generally a given (how else do they get in your pants? - this is rhetorical. I don't really want to know) so to hear him genuinely praising my effort without my instigation was a pleasant surprise. The truth is, I've not been feeling very sure about myself lately - more so than the usual dose of human insecurities. Ever since I had the baby, I've pretty much taken the backseat in our relationship as far as ambitions go. The career woman on overdrive has set the gear on neutral, and just happily allowing the topography of her journey to move her along. And perhaps that's why I feel like I'm sliding backwards sometimes.

When my life in neutral is juxtaposed with My Guy's career on crack, charging ahead in full speed - even though this was something we both agreed upon - it leaves me feeling like I'm stalled in traffic, with everyone else moving around me. (OK, I think I got all of the car metaphors out of my system.) I'm not jealous; in fact, I am incredibly proud of him. This, after all, is our plan. Our roles were reversed before, and now it's his turn to shine. I suppose that's just what partners do for each other. We support, we strive, we take turns, we share the load, we embark on different paths but we always arrive at the same point together.

Now that it's My Guy's turn to shoulder a little more of the responsibilities, I see how passionate he is, and it moves me. But I also feel guilty for not being able to match his fire with mine. We stay up late together every night, in our home office, both engrossed but in completely different worlds, working towards very different directions for our family. He's moving us forward; his focus is our future. I'm chronicling the movement, mainly dwelling in the past. Sometimes I feel helpless, like I'm not contributing.

On those days, My Guy, my rock, would reassure me of the significance of my supporting role, not just as family anchor but memory keeper as well. (This was the part where I suspected he’d say anything to get in my pants).  What you're doing is important, he once said to me as I was lamenting the loss of my old ambitious, forward-moving self. He went on to describe the photos from our childhood - how when we look at them, we often forget the context for the laughter in the pictures, the story behind the sheepish grin – and that through these words on my blog, I was more than just keeping records, I was crystallizing our memories, giving color to life. I have to say, since he's not the most eloquent person in the world, I was mostly paraphrasing but while the words were mostly mine; the sentiments were his. What cemented my faith in his words was what he said at the party, when he didn’t know I was listening (and that was the part where I started to really believe him.)

So now, one existential crisis down, so many more to go. I know what I do won't win awards or a lifetime supply of Colgate toothpaste (which is fine since we use Crest anyway). It won't even get me a Starbucks latte since I don't get paid to blog, but I continue to chug along, weary eyed, well into the late hours of the night (secretly – and now not so secretly – trying to keep My Guy company as he burns the candle on both ends), knowing that someone, no, a very special someone will appreciate these chronicles someday. So here I am, tapping fluidly on the keyboard, my own pulse at the tip of these fingers and finally feeling content just writing the story of our lives, one day (ok, every other day, except on weekends) at a time.

(Have you felt like you're moving forward in breakneck speed only to not know exactly why or even how? What's with these car metaphors anyway?! Do you have an existential crisis? If so, what is it? If you share yours, it will make me feel a little less like a freak. How about that? Consider it your good deed for the day.)