You came home today and dinner wasn't done, the toys were everywhere,
and I told you that it was your turn to put the kids to bed. You sighed
and rolled your eyes. You looked a bit frustrated. So was I. Let me
explain why in a way you'll understand it.
I know you like to keep your workspace neat. You keep your pens in a
convenient spot, your papers are organized--even the icons on your
computer desktop are right where you want them. Imagine if every time
you went to use the bathroom or the break room, you came back to find
that some little desk imp had come out while you were gone, even if
you'd only been gone five minutes. Your pens are scattered, half are
missing lids, and one was used to color on your cubicle wall. Your
papers have random scribbles on them, some are torn and crumpled, and
you can't find that important office memo that you knew you left in a
conspicuous spot. Even the icons on your computer have been rearranged,
and there are fingerprints on the screen. You'll loose part of your
afternoon straightening up, and if you go to the vending machine to
reward yourself with a candy bar for a job well done, you'll come back
to find your space torn up again.
Now lets change up your coworkers. I know some of them have accents
that are pretty thick. Let's say you can hardly understand a word they
say. They really want to tell you something, but you aren't getting it.
You try, but even with some wild charades thrown in, you can't make
out what they want. Then they get upset because, once you finally
figure out they were asking you for a highlighter, you gave them a
yellow one when they wanted orange. They throw it across the room,
stamp their feet on the floor, and scream in your face. That isn't all.
They have two feet and two hands that are fully functional, but if
they need something in another room, they always ask you to get it for
them. If you ask them to complete their part of a group assignment,
they give you a lot of excuses why they couldn't do it. If you insist,
then they tell you that you are mean and won't speak to you for a while.
If you complain to your boss, he'll just tell you that is the way
What about the work you do? I know you have some pretty big projects
coming down the line. Lets say you do them to the best of your ability.
You leave for the night, take some time to relax, then come back the
next day to find that your computer ate your work. You try every avenue
you know, you call in tech support, but it is gone and you have to
start over. Lets say that happens every day for a week. Then for a
month. Would you take it for a year?
If every day your desk was messed up when you didn't do it, your
coworkers were difficult to work with, and nothing you ever did stayed
done, how long would it take before you gave up? A week? Two weeks?
You've got some staying power, I know, but soon enough even you would
crumble. You'd bang your head on your desk, pull at your hair, and turn
in your two weeks' notice.
I think you can see exactly where this is going, so perhaps it would be
redundant to tell you that there are little imps here at home that
ensure that nothing stays clean for long. You know what it is like to
deal with a toddler in a tantrum because you're dad and you've tackled
the time outs, too. You help with the dishes, so you know that the sink
is seldom empty. The laundry could all be clean and put away at night
only to be in dirty piles again in the morning. Once I tell you what my
day has been like, you're pretty quick to help out.
Still, you might wonder why I don't quit. Why I'll never quit. In case
I haven't told you lately, let me tell you why. It's because I love
you and those dastardly little imps. Madly. With wild abandon. Though
having the house clean, the laundry folded, and the dishes put away
does carry some of its own reward, I don't do it because I enjoy it. I
do it because I desperately love the ones I'm doing it for. When you
tell me the dinner was delicious, when you notice the bathroom is
sparkly clean and thank me for it, and when your kids give me sticky
kisses and tell me they 'wuv' me, I melt all over again.
Yes, sometimes I'll be frustrated. Some days I'll need a break (thank
heavens for date night, or even late nights spent doing nothing more
than watching a show with you). There may even be times when I don't
want to do it, but I'll come back around. I'll do it. Maybe not all in
one day, and maybe there will seldom be days when everything is done
well, but I'll keep at it. You and those precious little people who
look like you make it worthwhile.
When you find your socks folded and put in their place, when you come
home to a warm balanced meal, and when you see your kids happy and busy
playing in a cluttered room that is clean underneath, I hope you'll see
those moments for what they are. Little pieces of my heart. Small
expressions of a very big love. When I don't get it all done, I hope
you won't mistake that for a lack of love. I'm just very human and I
don't always have the time or the drive to do it all. My love is as
constant as dirty dishes, as lasting as the piles of clothes in the
laundry room, and as tenacious as our two year old when she clings to a
piece of candy. Although you might not say it quite the same way, I
know you feel it, too. With that in mind, maybe our bad days are still
pretty darn good.