Cold Feet and Old Men

Tomorrow is the last day of my finals for the Fall 2009 semester. Some of my classes were surely As, some might be Bs or even Cs. A couple I am unsure if I even passed at all. Did I take on too much school work? Probably, but I don’t think that’s the reason I’m doing so poorly. The truth is, my life is far more complicated than I’d like it to be. Luna is my child, and of course needs my constant attention. I have no complaints about her, in spite of any troubles she might cause, but oftentimes I feel as though I am her only parent.

My single friends don’t understand. They have never had a husband, or had one but their marriage ended for one reason or another, so they feel that I’m lucky to have a husband of my very own. My married friends don’t understand, either. They feel that my husband ought to do this or that, and that I ought to make him do it. I’m not sure what I ought to do. I fear that graduate school could be the best or the worst thing to happen to my marriage.

If I go to graduate school, I will have to move there in order to avoid the obvious troubles associated with commuting. Luna will have to move with me because a) I couldn’t stand to live without her for too long and b) husband wouldn’t have childcare for her, aside from possibly his guy friends and I’m not going to trust them with my child, even if they wore halos and were endorsed by several deities. The truth is, as much as I love husband, I know that he isn’t doing things he ought to be doing.

Maybe, if he had a blog, he’d tell all you cyber stalkers and lurkers and occasional guests that I am the one to blame. Maybe he’d be able to get friend to cite specific incidents which they took to be my fault. But I only know what I know. Yes, he works hard at his job and gets the bills paid, for which I am eternally grateful. Yes, he works hard to fix and repair whatever he can when he can, for which I am eternally grateful.

But his duties to house and home and family don’t end when the last check is written for the month, or when the oil change is completed on the car. Is it wrong of me to expect him to cheerfully and lovingly spend time with his own daughter in lieu of a babysitter? Is it wrong of me to ask him for help in taking out the garbage sometimes? Is it wrong of me to expect him to clean up messes that he makes, such as grease on the sink or shredded cheese on the counter?

Is it wrong of me to want him to be responsible for the lawnmowing? He expects me to cheerfully and lovingly scrub the house from top to bottom and spend every second of every minute of every hour of every day taking care of his and Luna’s needs. He expects me to ask for his permission when I want to eat something or drink something in this house. He expects me to be willing to postpone college indefinitely so that I can return to the workforce.

But suppose I did all of these things? Husband still wouldn’t be willing to watch Luna while I went to work or school. He would still complain about having to provide me with transportation. I wouldn’t get praised and thanked for all of efforts. Neither Luna nor husband would tell me they were eternally grateful to me. Luna, of course, doesn’t have to. As her mother I should cater to her needs without needing to be praised for it. But should I do the same for husband?

Should I try so hard to give all I’ve got to him without getting appreciated for it? Sure, he randomly surprises me with gifts sometimes. And, yes, the sex is awesome. But that’s not the full extent of my needs. I need him to be there for me. I need him to listen when I need to talk, without it turning into a fight. I need him to help out periodically. I need him to support my educational endeavors. I need him to not bully me about with harsh words or worse. I worry about what is going to happen in the future.

Will I move off to grad school without husband? Will we end up divorced? Will I remarry to some very old but very rich man? Or will husband and I be able to work things out and understand each other better? As my Fall semester comes to a close, I am more and more aware of just how close I am to graduation and the need to make these decisions. I’m kind of getting cold feet about graduating in general.

At the culmination of my undergraduate work, will I remember that Kalidasa wrote Meghaduta or which year Chinua Achebe was born? Will it matter to me how many essays I’ve written or how many works from the accepted literary cannon I’ve read? For the better part of the past six years I’ve been focusing more on husband than on my education. I’m so close to graduating, and I refuse to let my marriage be the reason I give up on my education.

But I don’t want to give up on my marriage either. I guess I’ll have to see how things go between now and the time I graduate…

Rent–Will I lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?

View the full blog at heartchasms.blogspot.com and like the blog on Facebook.

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