My husband often works at the hospital at night and so as the saying goes, we are two ships passing, living a dance where we meet for moments. I come home from work and we meet for dinner and we put our son to bed and then my husband heads to work again. This one-and-a-half-hour window is very delicate, as there can often be a lot happening at that time of evening, but we also need to connect with each other and to remind one another that we are doing this together.
This is not always easy; I have just come home from work, our son is tired from school, dinner needs to be made … and so on my drive from work to pick up our son and head home I have a clear focus; do not forget the bigger picture. Do not forget what it means for my husband to be the man he is and take that to his role as a doctor. Do not forget that our relationship is felt by each patient he meets, as it is by each client I work with. Do not forget that despite the way the medical training is set up, we are doing this as a team.
I can conveniently forget this at times though, especially when I want me time. But when I remember, it blows my mind. This big picture without a doubt helps me to know what I need to do and does not leave room for other noise; annoyance, nit picking, feelings of unfairness. I come home and focus on making the home like a warm hug. When I move around the house in this way, you can see my husband’s body let go of the day or night shift. If I choose to hold onto my day and wanting to be the tired one, or needing him to make time for me, it doesn’t work and everyone feels the tension. And then he leaves for work and I feel instant regret. I don’t recommend trying this part at (your) home.
When he works night shifts, I get to know myself more. I get to know what supports me and what does not, with exercise, food, and sleep times and I keep refining this. I like to set up our bed in different ways, rearrange the washing system so he can wash his work clothes easily as soon as he gets home, make cooking simpler and simpler (yet still very tasty) and walk around the home and see what could be more supportive and flow more easily. I get to know these things and then I recalibrate accordingly, and then my husband gets to come home to a place that is growing and developing and hugging us all more and more.
I do not feel far away from him or left out when he is at work, because I keep focused on the fact that we are in a relay-tionship. A dance, a really great dance. I buy beautiful food and prepare it to eat and he comes home and looks for things that need to completed at home; I call to make appointments and he washes my wool clothes and checks that the beach bag is packed with all the essentials for my son and I to go out on the weekends while he is at work.
When we let ourselves feel close and know we are doing this as one, all the rest is not a big deal. Time wise we have little time together but when we know the bigger picture, all we need is a hug and kiss in the kitchen, just one moment of actually connecting without reservations. Having no reservations no matter what the other person is or is not doing. We met in love and so this is to be cherished and nurtured and carried with us; when working, washing dishes, parenting, and everything we do, so we can offer this love to others. It is wasted if buried and the truth of our relationship is squashed, and no longer for everyone.