(Read yesterday's post before this one if you want to know what I'm talking about)
It's done. Resolved. Forgiven. All done before the kids were up this morning.
I struggled with guilt during the night over having published last night's post, because I have a normal policy about not bitching about Geoff on my blog...and clearly I violated that in writing what I did. I debated pulling the blog post down, but then left it up because, after all, I'm not perfect and have no desire to present myself as such...and the blogging forum is (too) often a platform to present one's perfections and successes rather than one's flaws and failures. So it's staying put on my blog and will be a reminder to all that neither I nor my marriage are perfect.
For purposes of completion of the story, I ended up further irritated last night when Geoff asked me at one point (just before I headed upstairs to climb into bed) if I was upset. I responded with a "yes" and waited to be asked what was wrong. He never asked. In typical Geoff format, I suppose, he drew his own assumptions/conclusions about what was wrong with me and said nothing further.
Come on, man, I felt like yelling. Don't you know by now that everything will be ok if you just let me vent for a few minutes? I'm a person who is very ready to forgive; I don't hold grudges. But I can't seem to let it go if I'm not asked about it - if I don't have a chance to first say what's bugging me. I felt justified in being further angered that Geoff didn't seem to know this about me.
But we were both awake early this morning and within the first few minutes Geoff asked if I wanted to talk about what happened last night and why I was upset. My heart softened. I'm a pretty easy mark. I told him why I was upset, and perhaps it was a good thing after all that I'd had time to think about it before spewing vitriol because I was a bit more clear this morning about what was bothering me.
"You hurt my feelings," I said. "My first feelings when you talked about not doing well because of the mess of the house were shame and guilt, and I don't think it's appropriate in these circumstances that I feel either of those emotions. Just like you've had a busy week and your office at work is likely pretty messy right now (to which he nodded), this is my workplace and in our attempts to have a productive and good week around here, my working environment isn't looking so good right now. I think my priorities have been in exactly the right places this week and the state of the kids, waaay more than the state of the house, is what I've been working on really hard all week. Plus, it's not just my job to work on keeping the house clean. We all have a responsibility for it, and you and I need together to be leading the charge on it."
"You're right," he offered. The thing about his office had clearly resonated him and I know him well enough to know that, given his hectic week at work, his desk probably looked a bit more like our house than he'd care to admit. "I handled that badly and I'm sorry it hurt you." I could tell by looking at him that he felt genuinely badly about everything. That went a long way.
Hmph. I really didn't want to feel better yet, but suddenly I just did. Really and truly about me is that if I have a chance to express my feelings and if someone apologizes, I can't help it - I just feel better and my world becomes a sunny place again.
"Also," I added, determined to get it all out in the open and make sure I was really done, "the kids and I'd had a really and unusually good day together yesterday with some real highlights, and I'd told you about it all on your drive home, and we were cheerful and so your concerns about the state of the house when you got home took the wind right out of my sails. I felt like a popped hot air balloon or like my bubble had just been burst." (Note: I am terrible at cliches and tend to throw a few expressions out there in the hopes that one fits the situation.)
"I can see where you'd feel that way," Geoff said. Darn it, he was being nice and understanding. I was done. "You must have felt really deflated," he continued, offering further balm to my wounds. "I'm sorry I did that to you and I could have handled that a lot better, even if things were bothering me." Man, I could actually feel the last of all of that angry energy ebbing out of me, leaving me relaxed and able to conclude matters.
We spent the next few minutes talking about how he could handle that situation in the future, 'cause we're both pretty sure that it's going to happen again. :) I told him that I didn't expect that his feelings about the house situation should necessarily change, because he's entitled to feel what he feels, but that I would appreciate it we worked out a way in which he could express himself while not hurting my feelings, etc. He heartily agreed. We concluded that he could easily have just stuffed his feelings down temporarily, at least until supper was done, and then he might have initiated a cheerful suggestion that we all five spend some time together cleaning up a little so that we'd be be able to enjoy the house a little more. Or he could say something before dinner like "Hey Ruth, after supper, would it work for all of us to spend a little time cleaning up? I find it a bit overwhelming and I'm betting you do, too. I know you've had a great day with the kids and so I thought we could maybe work at it all together tonight and maybe on the weekend, too..." Either of these scenarios would work for me, and still enable him to acknowledge openly that the place was a mess.
Geoff opened up his arms wide and I walked into them for a hug. "I forgive you," I said, and I put my head on his shoulder. Everything was better. Done.
Seth walked in just as Geoff's arms closed around me and asked sleepily what was going on. I told him that Daddy and Mommy had had an argument and that feelings had been hurt and that we had just finished working everything out.
"See," I said, looking down to where Seth had wrapped his arms around our legs. "Mommy and Daddy don't always get along either, as you know, and sometimes we argue and disagree, but we work hard to talk about things so that have a good relationship and have a happy family together."
"Everything's ok, Seth," Geoff said.
"Whatever," Seth responded, and put up his arms to be picked up. He's relaxed now, this boy of ours...he knows that he's safe. He doesn't need to worry any more.