It’s supposed to be hard right now.
That’s what I keep telling my husband. When the hours get long and one day runs into the next and you long for a weekend that is gone before you realized it was here… I remind him, it’s supposed to be hard right now.
I remind myself as well.
When I look at people who are older than me, or “have” more than we do right now, or whose lives seem to be “easier” right now, I remind myself that there is always a back story.
There are the years he worked two jobs, while she brought the kids and dinner to be enjoyed in a parking lot between shifts. And they both wondered how long they could keep up the pace.
There are the nights after she went back to school, and her children learned to cook and tidy and pack school lunches in her place. And she felt guilty because she wasn’t there to do it herself.
There are the years he missed games and practices and homework, while he was struggling countless hours to give them a chance at more than just “food on the table”. And he feared it would all pay off too late.
It’s supposed to be hard, I remind him.
Sometimes I know the road feels too long to him. There are times when I know he feels like he’s been doing “hard” since he was 19, and he wonders if he can shoulder another 9 years. I remind him it hasn’t always been like this. I remind him of vacations and breathing room and days when it was easier. I remind him that this too will pass, and we’ll have “easy” times for a while.
I don’t know if he believes me.
I remind him that his parents have not always had “easy”. I remind him about layoffs and pain and struggles that he has long forgotten, but that I’ve heard them recall with an accuracy that tells me they will never forget.
I try to explain that this is just what it’s like at this stage. When you’re building. When you’re both working. When your kids are young and growing and needing. I try to remind him that this is just part of life, and that you can still suck out the good while you’re at this point.
Because there is still so much good in these hard years.
There are snuggles and whispers and firsts. There are proud smirks shared above little heads. There are stolen minutes after bedtime and before breakfast. The laughter, the squeals, the cries that can only be comforted with rocking and humming.
I want to look back on these years some day and say that we did it. I want to encourage a young woman someday that yes, it was hard – I remember it was hard – but it was worth it. I want to look back on today and remember that I had enough energy left at the end of the day to squeeze a little more Good out of it. And it was worth it.
I know that it’s hard, I assure him. Hang on, I tell him. I concede that right now, in this day, it feels hard.
But I promise him, it’s worth it.