Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Am Not the Maid

Taken near the museum, one of many weeknight adventures taken while Curtis was working nights... 

Curtis has been working for 23 days straight now, on the weekends, through the nights, and has only complained once. He has weathered busy patient loads, the hospital switching to a completely new electronic system and missing all sorts of social events. Some would say it’s “what he signed up for”. Some would argue that “it’ll all be worth it in the end”. Yet the reality is that when you’re in the thick of it, exhausted, overwhelmed, and deprived of all balanced, it’s hard to see through the moment.

For both of us.

Despite this crazy streak, we reached a significant milestone yesterday: the end of night shifts. As much as I’d like to think that the nights at the hospital are gone forever, the reality is that this hiatus will last for about three weeks. At this point I’ll take it. I would take one week, because with him on nights and me on days I start to feel like the maid: I fold the clothes; I stock the towels and the fridge; I leave mints on the pillow.

Well, maybe not that last part.

I’m ready to be on the same schedule, when my eight-hour days happen at the same time as his 12-15 hour shifts, rather than opposite of them. I am ready to have someone to share meals with, so I am inspired to eat something other than cereal or leftover mashed potatoes for dinner. I am ready to retire "the book" for a while, rather than paging through it like the latest hot novel.

I am ready to have him back.

I know that it won’t be a lot of time, and that he’ll still get held over, and that time together is limited. I will take it. It’s better than no time together, with no chance or hope to connect. This stretch of Curtis’s career won’t last forever, but gathering moments of balance in the midst of it is still crucial. And that is why I celebrate small victories: weeks without night shifts, a weekend off, an evening together. Because on nights like tonight, when he texts me as I am scheming about dinner to let me know he is “Going to be LATE tonight” (emphasis his), I have to remind myself that there is tomorrow. We’ll try this play again, and see if we can’t make it work.

It has to work eventually.

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