You really don't know how much I love you. You are one hard working man, and I'm grateful for that. Not many people can do what you do. I am seriously one lucky wife. You bust your butt daily to provide for us and pay the bills. Meanwhile, I am struggling to find balance owning and running a new boutique. As of now, we are not where we wanted to be at the time after our marriage. Life has thrown us a few curveballs and a couple of additional opportunities that we were not aware of when we made these life goals a few months-years back. Rather than you going back to school this semester to student teach in the Master's program, you have sacrificed for us, and instead you are going to continue working and bringing home a weekly check. I, on the other hand, am 3 months post-graduation with no nursing job. You hate this, this I know. I have taken the initiative to sign up for my NCLEX and it's been four weeks now that I have been waiting on the State to send me my information. You remind me of this quite frequently. It's not that I don't want a career as a nurse, because I honestly do. But a year ago, I had no idea that I would be sitting inside a store in the middle of our hometown running a business. This was definitely not in our life plan. It's kind of crazy how it has evolved actually. Last November I had an idea to earn a little side money to help pay for nursing school costs. That idea turned into actions and those actions have lead me where I am today. Am I thankful for that? Of course. God has given me the opportunity, the assistance, the location, the time, and the funds. All of which I never in a million years would've thought could happen.
So where do we go from here? You are adamant about me having a nursing career. And that's perfectly fine. I want one. I love all that a nursing job consists of. But, yes, the big "but".. I also love this boutique. I love that I can be crafty on a daily basis. I love being challenged and coming up with new, fun ideas. I love that our small community now has a fun place to shop! And, all of our customers really support us and love our products! It's amazing to me.
On another thought.. you know I love babies, and have always wanted to work in the Pediatric field. Whether it be at a hospital or not, this has always been my dream job. Once I had the opportunity to shadow for my preceptorship in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), I was astonished. Never before had I seen a baby soo tiny. I immediately fell in love and knew this was one day where I wanted to end up. Before graduation, I applied to the Neonatal Nurse Residency program and unfortunately did not get the job. There weren't many other positions available in the hospital on the floors I was interested in. So, in the meantime, I chose to continue running the boutique. Therefore, regardless I would have some sort of job. Your Step-Mom and I at this point did not know how well the boutique would pan out. Or if it would at all. We first set a small goal of $100 per day. To our surprise, we have averaged that and most days doubled or tripled that amount. We couldn't believe it. So, we continued.
I'm sure you are about to chuckle to yourself as you read this next part. But, I feel like God has a bigger plan for us. I know you are probably rolling your dark, brown eyes all while having the biggest grin on your handsome face. You know I always say stuff like this. I always feel like God is trying to show me and tell me something. I feel like it was his plan that this opportunity to own a boutique has come about. I feel that it was his plan for me to get married in June and therefore, not take the NCLEX immediately after graduation like the majority of my classmates. Instead, he allowed me time to focus on the last details of the biggest day of our lives, our wedding. For that, I am thankful. I got to relax and ease my mind. I got to take it all in. That unbelievable feeling that I was about to be your wife in just a few short days.
As I'm typing this, a lady just peeked her head in the front door of my store. She said "I just wanted to let you know what a great job you did on my cup. I love it. I have it sitting on my desk and everyone that walks by always comments on it and says how much they love it. I just wanted to let you know and to tell you thank you." And she closed the door and walked back to her car. This lady, whom I don't even know, just took the time out of her day to come and visit me and to tell me thank you for a cup I had decorated for her a few weeks back. This makes my heart smile. How ironic what I just wrote in that last paragraph? I feel this is God's way of letting me know I am doing something right.
Balance is hard for me. I used to be so organized and neat. The house was spotless most of the time. There wasn't a dirty dish in the sink or clothes waiting to be folded hanging out in the dryer. Our kitchen counters weren't cluttered and the bed was always made. Now, I've been in some sort of funk for quite some time. I still manage to do what needs to be done, but I constantly struggle with self-satisfaction of that being "enough". Our life has no routine at this point. Although I close the store at 5, I sometimes don't come home until 8, if not later. You, on the other hand, often get off mid-afternoon. After working outside all day, you are exhausted. You like to catch a nap, play with Bella, and before long you are ready to eat. After you bathe, you are ready to kick back in the bed and watch television until you drift off to sleep before having to wake up again at 6am. I stay up until midnight or later catching up on things. If someone was to take a picture of us every evening before we go to bed, one would see a remote control in your hand and me typing away on my laptop. Instead of bringing home a weekly check, I allow the funds to roll over in our account to cover expenses. Our goal is to cover inventory and supply costs and get caught up before cutting a check out each week. This is what we want. This is how we need to run it to make it successful in the years to come. I must give a little to take a little.
You are gone before I wake, and home before I get off. Supper isn't cooked more than half of the time. There is probably clothes waiting to be folded and hung in the dryer. There are always dishes in the dishwasher waiting to be taken out and put away so they can be replaced by dirty ones in the sink. The floors are hardly ever vacuumed. The commodes are never scrubbed. Dirty clothes are strung from one end of the house to the other. The floors are never mopped. And I don't have 8 arms..
I wish I did.
Your exhausted. I'm exhausted. But somebody has to do it.
You told me last night while I grabbed a load of clothes out of the dryer, "Cait, don't fold those tonight. Just come lay down and relax with me."
My response was, "Um, no. I've got to fold these clothes, Cliff. They've been sitting in there all day and if I don't fold them they're going to be wrinkled."
You replied, "well, they're all my clothes and I will wear half of them tomorrow anyway! So, don't worry about them."
I didn't budge. I continued folding with a scowl on my face as you layed in bed, feet propped up, flipping through the channels.
I got angry. A fuse went off in my brain. I thought to myself, and then said out loud to you.. "if you would get up and help me, it would take half of the time. Then I could actually lay down with you and relax."
As you looked over at me with scrunched eyebrows, you simply said "it's ten o'clock at night and I'm tired. I work hard every single day. I am not folding clothes this late."
And that was that. I continued to fold all of them, put them on hangers, and put them away in their proper places.
This is what I struggle with. I struggle to find the time to clean the house to your expectations. I struggle with the fact that not too terribly long ago, you weren't working out in this 110 degree heat. When you got home and I wasn't there, you would switch over the clothes, put a load on, unload the dishwasher, or even start dinner. Now, you are exhausted. You think that these types of duties fall back ultimately on the 'wife'. That's me. Because I don't bring home a weekly check, I am considered more of the stay-at-home-wife type. In saying that, we have a perspective that this type of role does all of these duties listed above. The man makes the money and provides, while the wife stays home and cooks and cleans. Ok, maybe back in the day. Or maybe in some sort of fairytale. But, not in our world. I'm away from home working just as much as you, if not more than you at this point. But because, ultimately, you bring in the income and 'work', I am suppose to uphold these duties. I'm failing. I just can't. For one, there's just not enough hours in the day. And two, I have lost motivation.
How can I be at home constantly cleaning in order to keep up with the amount of housework that just the two of us have when I am constantly having to be at the store putting together orders, boxing up and shipping out items, rearranging inventory, entering new inventory into the computer system, labeling items, researching and coming up with new ideas, ordering supplies and new inventory, maintaining three websites, taking the time to clean and take out the trash, and simply remembering to take a moment to breath in and out?! Whew. Is it manageable? Is there a weekly schedule I can work out? Is there a personal assistant I can hire? No wait, I have no extra income to pay them. Scratch that thought.
I don't want you to get discouraged with me. I don't want you to feel like I am a failure and that I am loosing sight of my dream for becoming a nurse. Because I'm not. I don't want you to feel like I'm not upholding my wifely duties, because I'm trying. I want to have the house spotless, I want to have a three course meal waiting on you when you get off of work, I want to get up with you in the mornings and make your coffee before you walk out the door. I want to do all of these things. And, one day soon I will. I promise. Don't hate me because I work late or because I am just as exhausted as you when I get home and sometimes I don't feel like folding two loads of clothes, unloading the dishwasher, fixing a three course meal, and simply sweeping the floor. I am trying to work hard and start this business where it will be successful and something to fall back on. Please understand this. I just feel like this is God's plan for me, for us. He must have a much bigger plan thant what we had originally imagined. It's just going to take time to see the ultimate outcome. I try to explain this to you often. You can't help it, you are just a teeny weeny bit impatient..and that's understandable. I completely understand. I can't make you see it at this point. I just have this gut feeling that it's all going to work out. And it will, according to His will.
Until then, let's just keep our faith, our trust in one another, and a smile on our faces. It's going to get better. Our time is coming. I know God has a big, big plan for us. And for that, I am utterly excited.
P.S. Our sheets are washed and supper will be cooked tonight!