In our house, like most homes with two parents, we divided up the chores. I do all the week day planning- baseball practices, dance, parent teacher conference, Scouts. I do the cooking and the inside cleaning up. The husband plans out weekends-what we're doing, barbecuing, cleaning the garage. And there are daily chores that each of us do-I make lunches for everyone and do the laundry, he takes out the trash, scoops the yard, and, when needed, shovels snow. The kids have their own sets of chores too, and we flow very well. A bit traditional, but so are we.
My husband willingly does the chores I hate. I hate taking out the trash. I don't like scooping the yard (but who does?). And I really don't enjoy anything to do with snow. I've tried, truly. I see how much "fun" people have in the snow. But I just don't get it. So luckily, I don't have to be out shoveling, in the cold, slipping because I do not own proper snow boots, getting calluses because I do not own proper gloves.
Most of the time, that is.
We woke up to about two inches of slushy snow this morning, with huge, wet flakes tumbling down steadily. The woods were all shades of winter wonderland and the car windshield was covered in fluffy snow. I started hoping. "Any minute now, I'll get a call that it's a snow day," I thought. Because I work for the school district that my kids attend, it would mean a day off for all of us! The one perk of snow is snow days. I kept checking my phone to make sure it wasn't on silent and I hadn't missed this gift of a Friday off.
No call. Just the announcement on twitter from the Superintendent that it was, in fact, normal hours today.
(I should note here that the military base is only asking emergency personnel to come in. School children though, you better show up today and be happy about it.)
And guess who is away right now? Here's a hit: it's not me.
Right now, my husband doesn't have a job that requires deployments, and yet, he's still away for weeks with training, and when he's home he works long hours. Part of a military life is sometimes, you're stuck doing it all. I know that there are lots of people out there who this is an everyday thing for, and I applauded you. But with military life, there is a distinct awareness that you are doing this on your own because of an absence. You're stuck taking out the trash, scooping dog poop from the yard, and shoveling snow. You're stuck taking off work and using all your sick days when a kid has a fever. You're the one that has to explain to teachers at Parent Teacher Conference Night that your spouse is not going to make it. Again. And explain to your children, that no, Dad will not be home tomorrow. Or the next day.
But this is part of the life. You kiss them good bye, you take care of your kids, you wait for the phone calls, you shovel the snow, and get it done without (much) complaining. It's one of the hardest parts of military life. Not the chores on your own. But knowing you CAN do all that yourself. It's both empowering and frightening. To look at your life and see how different it could be. To look at your life and remind yourself to love all these moments and appreciate what you get everyday. Even the hard things-the sticky kids, the phone calls instead of face to face time, and even walking to school in the snow on a shoveled path.