Mrs. Simon was standing over the skillet, stirring potatoes, tears streaming down her face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I’m just so tired,” she said quietly, looking at the skillet. I knew what the word “tired” meant. It wasn’t just physical. It was being a new Mom; it was working 60+ hours at a job in a company where the Sword of Damocles belongs in the logo. It was mental bankruptcy accompanied by spiritual overdraft.
She wasn’t even cooking our dinner. It was something for the office potluck the next day.
I took over stirring the potatoes. I hugged her. It was all I could do.
This morning Mrs. Simon’s face betrayed a silent tear as she made coffee. She had not slept in our bed and I wondered if it was my fault.
“Did I snore?”
She couldn’t afford to miss sleep with my buzz saw going all night, so she had slept in the baby’s room.
I felt pretty lousy about that, even if it wasn’t exactly my fault.
Her department at work is in the middle of a massive reorganization. She’s already doing the work of several people, and it looks as if that situation will worsen. If she’s lucky it will remain static, but that is in doubt. She can’t quit—my job working for Mr. Waturi couldn’t begin to cover our bills. She’s stuck. We’re stuck. Factor in the requirements of the Silly Season, a husband frustrated by his career plus worries over her mother’s chronic health problems and you have a very stressed out Mrs. Simon.
Don’t get me wrong–she’s one of the strongest people I know; but our strength fails even the best of us sometimes.
Our morning routine usually involves Mrs. Simon performing most of the actions needed to get the baby ready, then taking her to daycare. I pick the baby up on the way home from work and feed her. This was a morning when perhaps we should switch.
“A lot going on?” I knew there were plenty of things “going on” at her office. Always were. These things were usually stressful and full of malarkey.
“I have a meeting at 8 o’clock.”
“Then I’ll take her to the daycare,” I said.
The relief in her eyes was good to see. I hugged her.
“I’m your partner, you know—not one of your kids,” I said. “If you need help, if there’s something I can do, you just tell me. God knows you’ve pulled my ass out of enough stressful situations.”
She nodded, wiped her eyes, blew her nose, and poured some coffee. Though still very stressed, I think I saw her face brighten a little.
If my wife is tired, I am damn well going to help carry her burdens.
I always will. I will also work harder to make sure she knows that.