If you’re like me, you get all your advice from celebrities. During this holiday season I’ve been thinking about how Will Smith takes care of Jada Pinkett Smith in such a meaningful way that it allows her to take care of everyone else. In that interview (Oprah? I can’t find it), he equated this act to watering the garden; tending the one place from which all his other happiness grows.
My takeaway? There is no gift too lavish, no prose too effusive that my husband can present me this Christmas.
I have used this same metaphor in the past: feed me so I can feed everyone else. It is not an opaque concept. Breastfeeding, anyone? One of the most baffling aspects of stay-at-home-parenthood is its near-absolute lack of appreciation. Sure you hear that it’s the most thankless job in the world but until you are in it you can’t believe it’s actually THAT bad. But it is. Holy shit, you could never imagine all the giving givingness that you give only to have to give more.
This is the season of giving and in our house it is also our firstborn’s birthday and I take care of it all. Is that hyperbole? I don’t think anyone would refute it. The night before my son’s birthday my husband wondered if “we” had anything for him. We did. I enjoy a lot of the work of this season, most of it really. I also enjoy taking care of the people and things in our life so that my husband can stay focused on the things he does so well. There’s no mud in our water. But I resent it being expected of me. As a human being I just don’t possess the endless resources and positive feelings that never require a thank-you, but as a mother, this seems to be the expectation. That’s the nature of children indeed but someone has to help fill the well and in my life, in our family’s dynamic, that someone is my husband. He doesn’t have to take care of anyone but me and then I’ll do the rest. It feels like we went old-school marriage before we realized what that would mean, but with the help of wise people like Will and Jada Smith, I’ve realized it means I cannot be thanked enough by the one person who thanks me at all.
Go ahead and indulge me. Think GRAND. Believe me, you will not regret all your giving givingness as I let it trickle down.