Seven years. In seven years I’ve gone from fiercely independent to embarrassingly dependent.
I was the girl who flew the coop and ventured beyond the state borders for college (and never looked back). I was the girl who couldn’t be bothered with a college romance knowing it would get in the way of achieving personal goals. I was the girl who landed a job shortly after graduation, received promotions regularly, and bought her first house all on her own at age 25.
And then it happened.
I had a solid career, I had my own home, my bills were paid, my friends were great, but it was time to feed that sleeping bear that was my love life. So I did what every other single twenty-something did at that time, I got online and found myself a love interest!
I won’t bore you with an awkward retelling of our dating years, but I will tell you I very vividly recall one of our first phone conversations going something like this, “Just so you know, Neil, I don’t need a man to take care of me. I’m fully capable of doing it all on my own.”
:: facepalm ::
What a way to win him over! Oddly enough, Neil will tell you it was one of the things that attracted him to me most. Bless his heart, he and I both often sit and wonder now who in the world that girl was!
Honestly, I don’t even recognize her! Maybe it isn’t a bad thing entirely, but in these last seven years, I’ve managed to let my walls down and allow myself to be completely vulnerable, and completely dependent, on my husband. At the risk of going full on Jerry McGuire, he completes me. We’re a team. Add our little girl to the mix and I’ll tell you, I rely on him now more than ever!
I make the grocery list, he does the shopping and the cooking. I sort the laundry, he makes sure it’s washed, folded and hung. I load the dishwasher, he unloads and puts clean dishes away. I pick out Lileigh’s clothes for daycare and he dresses her and gets her where she needs to be. I rock her and sneak in some snuggles, and he reads us a book. You get the point.
You can imagine my panic when he asked if he could take Lileigh on a long weekend trip away to visit his parents. I literally said to him, “but who will feed me?!” I was kind of joking, but kinda not. I was filtering a flood of emotions with a pathetic attempt at some humor. I realized our daughter was 18 months old and I’d never spent the night away from her.
At this point, I was well aware of my dependence on him, but I hadn’t quite fully realized my dependence on her until this trip was staring me straight in the face! She fills up my days and she keeps me on a schedule. Naptime, mealtime, bathtime, bedtime … doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for shenanigans! I reluctantly agreed to the trip knowing it would be great for her to visit with family, and hey, maybe this mama could learn how to be “Miss Independent” again!
Let’s just say, “Miss Independent” did not reveal herself. I decided to treat myself to Chick-fil-A for breakfast on Saturday, but because my little alarm clock wasn’t in a crib down the hall, I managed to sleep in late. I flew out of the house at 10:15 a.m. knowing I’d be cutting it close and by 10:20 a.m. I was pulled over and getting a speeding ticket. No egg white grill for me! I spent the rest of the day comforting myself with some retail therapy and spent way too much money, because, you know, I didn’t have a toddler nap schedule to adhere to!
Sunday I decided that actually leaving the neighborhood could potentially harm me in ways I wasn’t prepared for since my protectors still weren’t around, so I spent the afternoon at the pool reading a book, but mostly wishing my two favorite people were there to play in the water with me.
I went to bed early and left for work early Monday morning. Let’s just say the workday couldn’t pass quick enough! Coming off the heels of a speeding ticket, I managed to maintain a safe speed across town that evening but there was no greater feeling that walking in to the house and seeing both Neil and Lileigh waiting to greet me just inside. I could have cried!
As our marriage matures, and as Lileigh gets older and learns to push my buttons, perhaps I’ll look forward to a weekend on my own, but for now, I’m OK with admitting that I didn’t care for it at all. I missed my other half and our girl so much I could barely stand it. And clearly, I can’t be trusted on my own!