I think I’ve finally written enough letters to you where I don’t quite remember whether I’ve talked about certain things because everything’s just blurring together. I suppose if you go back and find multiple letters talking about the same thing, you can take it as a sign that whatever it is, it had a big impact on me or was just a relatively consistent issue in my life.
I suppose that first paragraph is really a long-winded intro about the fight your mom and I got into today. As usual, I don’t even remember how it started or how it spiraled into a public spectacle where I’m pushing your pram and walking 10 yards ahead of your teary-eyed mom, as we try to make our way to a Nando’s of all places. The sequence of events is murky, but I think it goes something like this because it usually goes like this: your mom gets annoyed because “I’m not listening” and I obviously think I am listening, then she’ll say something while she’s exasperated which I take exception to and then I am mean to her.
[Do I really listen to her? I think I do, but perhaps it’s a classic “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus” sort of situation. I honestly think our world views are just very different. I’ve often thought about how to explain it to someone because it’s not as simple as something like I’m an optimist and she’s a pessimist. It’s like we take different methods of transport to different locations – our conclusions are different and how we get to those conclusions are also different.]
I’ll be the one that usually apologizes first – I don’t want to speculate why lest I get myself into trouble from this letter. I often feel very bad about the situation once something secular requires my attention (e.g., I can’t stay angry at your mom and the negative emotions often melt away when something else distracts me such as ordering lunch). So I apologized after we situated ourselves in a Nando’s booth.
My take-away from today’s fight though is that your mother and I are often on the same chapter, but not the same page when it comes to raising you. For example, this morning before we left, your mother felt I could’ve been preparing your lunch instead of folding the laundry while she was busy with you. It’s a series of small things that add up and just leaves her feeling frustrated. I don’t blame your mom for feeling that way even though we both know I’m trying to be helpful. She says I can’t prioritize, which is partly true since I often feel like I can just do everything and we all know that’s not true, particularly when a kid is involved. All she’s looking for on the weekend is help managing you. I’ll work on it. Like they say, and as much as I think it’s unfair, happy wife happy life.
Anyway, here’s a happy picture of us in case you’re starting to get too down. We make cupcakes for each other. Life is fun with each other, including the drama.
Your mother occasionally makes the comment to me that we don’t talk, which sounds off alarm bells in my head. It took me a while to learn, but your mother has a “Talk Meter” she needs to keep filled. It’s like The Sims where characters in the game have needs and if those needs are not met, the character’s mood turns red, gets depressed, and pees herself (at least that’s how I remembered it). This made my relationship with your mother a lot smoother when I started thinking of our interactions with this concept in mind, but I still sometimes forget.
With you occupying our lives, your mother and I only have two real opportunities to try and fill your mother’s Talk Meter: while we’re eating dinner (and you’re napping), and before I drift off to sleep. I try to avoid the latter because it always ends in disappointment as your mother whisper-yaps away and I start dozing off, and before I know it, your mother’s annoyed and I’m asleep. So this leaves us with only one good opportunity to talk, and I usually am on my phone while at the table. Not good.
It just so happened one recent dinner that I read a NYT Modern Love column titled “How the ‘Dining Dead’ Got Talking Again.” Great read. In it, the author talked about how her relationship with her husband deteriorated over the course of several years, which mirrored the dynamic of their conversations. I shared this article with your mother because I knew she would get a good kick out of it, but it also didn’t escape me the world was telling me your mother’s Talk Meter is in the red and depletes more rapidly with all the baby talk during the day while I’m at work.
What I’m really hoping for is you being a big talker too, then you and your mother can talk each other’s ears off, and the three of us will be a family of very green-mooded sims.