I'm ecstatic that I cut the grass yesterday while my husband used our brand-new weed eater to trim all around the house and along the sidewalks. I'm elated that we spent about an hour outside in the heat on our day off getting bitten by ants (me) and hit in the forehead with flying debris (him). Do you get what I'm trying to say here? I'm all kinds of happy that we were able to do a routine household chore that required a reasonable amount of physical exertion and he's no worse the wear for it today. It seems like such a small thing to most, but when you consider that the last time he tried to cut the grass it resulted in a two-day unpaid absence from work, you can understand why I'll happily chalk this up to a small victory.
I'm beginning to see that it's all a balancing act, everything we do. While it's true that my husband does have more physical limitations than the average person, I know now that if I put my clever-little-hobbit hat on, I can almost always find a workaround or compromise. (And that's not to imply that my husband won't or can't, but having lived with it for far longer than I, it's sometimes hard to see that there could be another way when you've been defeated so many times before. I, on the other hand, still have that annoyingly shiny optimism about me.) Last night was a perfect example. The grass needed to be cut, but my husband didn't want me to do it because he feels like that's his job to take care of. Sweet though that sentiment is, it's decidedly less sweet when his paycheck is way short because he had to call in due to being in too much pain as a result of his latest manly endeavor. So what's the answer here? Give husband the weed eater, which weighs much less than the lawnmower and is thus safer for his body, and let wife use the lawnmower. Besides, I'm terrified of cutting off a toe or something, so I won't touch the stupid weed eater.
It worked beautifully, our new plan. The yard got taken care of, my husband was not in pain and he still kept his pride intact. No doubt, it's kind of an annoyance to try and reconfigure what should be mindless tasks, but hey, we do what we have to do to keep some semblance of harmony in our little world. I feel like the idea of having to make things just a little more complicated than they should be would probably bug my husband if he stopped to think about it, so my job is to not make it obvious as to what's going on. If I can just put a little extra thought into the everyday, maybe I can make the Marfan Syndrome that much more manageable for both of us.
If I work at it, I know I can get to the point where I'm not actively thinking about how to adjust whatever task we're trying to complete to allow for his limitations. I also know that if I can get that far, to make it so that I'm not actively thinking about what I'm doing, I can make it so he doesn't think about it, either. That's the ultimate goal, I think. I want to be able to help him manage his disorder so that it's not so damn intrusive all the time. It's already the third person in our marriage, the elephant in the room, and I'd like to kill said elephant as soon as I can figure out how.
I'm gaining traction now in my journey to create the best life possible for the both of us, I know I am. Every so often, when I have a tiny breakthrough like I did last night, I can feel the wheels in my head catch and dig in. I LOVE that feeling! (Trust me, it beats the hell out of the times when those wheels are just spinning for days and days without gaining any ground whatsoever.) I need that feeling to stay with me so that I can use it to help me during the times when I can't see any light in the tunnel. I need to remember that even though his condition is deteriorating, it IS getting better for us in the broader scheme of things. I just have to remind myself periodically that if anyone can out-clever this fricking disorder's potential effect on our lives, it's me.