As life rolls along, we are not very conscious of the specifics of daily actions. We get caught up in our to do list, take actions and perform tasks and count it as normal behaviors. We don’t sit down each night and evaluate what was done, by whom and whether the actions were excellent, good or poor.
Most of us live with others and we melt together as each person takes on roles and responsibilities. Some people fix the coffee each morning, others load the dishwasher, while others pay bills or cook. The fact is, all of us fall into a routine of doing our thing.
I enjoy cleaning while Ray, my husband, was a lover of laundry. I did the taxes while he paid the bills. After 53 years, we were a great team that had divided all chores and did not have to say, “Are you going to take out the trash?”
You may say we had fallen into a comfortable living where we very seldom had to ask each other their thoughts or feelings. We just knew because we had shared everything and had grown to be almost one. I think that is a successful marriage. We never took each other for granted but we had a definite division of labor.
Since July when he died, I find myself overwhelmed with tasks that I never had to do before. I am at the beach house and we have just survived 8 days of subfreezing weather. It seems like it was a month.
Dripping water each night to keep the lines from freezing. Trying to understand what to do with water lines under the pools and how to turn breaker boxes off to protect things. Figuring out how to turn off water to the house because there are now leaks in water lines because we are finally above freezing.
I had to hire plumbers, electricians, and painters. I had always been the 2nd in command of our many building projects, but now find I am the leader.
I am not qualified to be the leader. This is being baptized by fire. I am using a compressor, a nail gun, buying equipment and making decisions as if I were trained to do it.
Frankly, I would much rather be 2nd in command. It was so comforting knowing that Ray knew what he was doing and I could just relax. But there are two lessons in what I am now going through.
- Husbands, thank your wife each day for the great job she is doing as she juggles her schedule and does her assigned tasks. Wives, thank your husband each day and hug him for all the things he does in his role and his assigned tasks.
- Pretend that your partner might disappear tomorrow and you have to do your and your partners chores. Pay attention to the details. How do you care for the car? Where are the records for the maintenance of the house and the vehicles?
Have discussions on each others’ tasks so you will know how it is done, who needs to be notified, what vendors are your favorite, and what skills you need to be able to take over.
Over and over I say, pay attention. You are not promised tomorrow. But as much as Ray and I talked about the possibility, I have so much to learn by trial and error.
Thankfully, I think I am doing pretty good. But I know that I cannot take the credit. God is with me every morning as I think of the new chores I have to accomplish. He is guiding me and helping me and I am so thankful. It is not easy doing both jobs. But I am learning.