You know what, I get it. All those times you’d say I just want to spend some time with you, some time for us and I’d respond with we did or what do you think we have been doing? I always knew that time spent with someone was not the same as time spent beside them but I see now that when all you want is one and all you get is the other, its not fair. I see that because its right in front of me with you and Genevieve. Now using words like all and every when I am talking about this isn’t really fair either. You do still spend quality time with her. Every time you are in her presence, you do not ignore her. However, frequently you do not hear her, nor do you actively spend as much time with her.
Ages ago you used to rant to me how social media is helping to make us anti-social. People should really just learn to put down the phone or the tablet or look away from whatever screen was in front of them so they could see what else (or perhaps who else) was in front of them. Last week I am sure you once again told me how excessive tv was corrupting behaviour. You meant hers but the problem goes a little wider than that. And before you get too defensive, I am not immune to this, I do it too. But the thing is, I am not so far removed yet and I have noticed it in you.
Your phone is the first thing you pick up in the morning. It comes with you to meals and is never far from your side. You are browsing if we sit down together to watch tv and also if we go out to coffee. You don’t pull out your phone when we are actually out socialising with friends or extended family but your own family seem to have been somewhat demoted from this standard.
Now as I said, I do it too. If I am actively watching something on tv then it can take me a second to realise that my daughter is trying to talk to me. It seems that at least once a day I am asking her to repeat herself because I have tuned out to pay attention to something else but I am trying to keep an ear out for others trying to get my attention. I am no saint but I am frustrated when I see our three year old try and get your attention repeatedly because you have failed to acknowledge her. I can’t tell whether you haven’t heard her (which is unfortunate) or you are ignoring her in favour of finishing whatever you are doing on a screen. You have said yourself that you have recognised the lack of one on one time now that we are all at home and I am not working four days a week. She is missing that too.
I think she is just missing us. She doesn’t mind what we do though. She doesn’t event mind just watching tv with us but to make it count, we need to watch something she has chosen with her rather than letting her watch something we have chosen with us. Even if we pick what is ostensibly a “kids” movie or a family movie for us all. Its not the same to her. But this could be a sort of compromise for you when you’re tired. I know that you have been having a hard time with study and everything else we have on in the week recently. You have been burning the candle at both ends. Specifically after your three day marathon of manual labour for others. On the spur of the moment, you decided to help my god-brother get his house ready for rent. The next day you figured you were on a roll so you donated your time for yard work at my sister’s house in thanks for some dog-sitting. The day after that, you must have been in the groove or something because you gathered some gents together to go and dig a trench for a friend.
I have to say that I think it is awesome that you are so giving and generous to others. Apparently some conversations you have had recently have led you to question whether you give too much or if you are seen as (at best) unconventional or (at worst) weird by others. Although not in as many words, you have asked me whether what I thought you were doing was wrong. I can tell you now that I hope all our children grow up with your generosity of spirit. I hope they grow up with a sense of community and an awareness of those around them like yours. But I would also hope that none of them sacrifice or lose sight of their own family. Family is important.
And in other good news this month, you don’t have hemochromatosis! You were concerned recently that the symptoms you were experiencing all pointed towards this and some family history would seem to support it but apparently you are just a carrier. Of course, this means that we really don’t know why you are so tired and run down but hopefully a couple of good nights’ sleep in a row will help this. You know, if we can get them with two young kids.
Your Loving Wife