September 4, 2012 by jooshanoosh
So you all remember last week when I took my wife and kids inside and mountain to die. Well, I thought I had made it pretty clear that we were no longer going to parent outside but then, for some reason, America celebrates Labor. I don’t know why and I asked my wife, who is the smartest person I know, and she told me that it was because “We now have weekends”. I smiled because I knew this response was one of two things: One, she was serious and I didn’t want to look like a fool…(er) or Two, she was joking, however she would only be joking because she thought I was joking by asking such a stupid question in which case I had to play it off like I was joking. So I still don’t know why we have Labor Day, (cause if it’s for the weekends why do we celebrate it on Monday?) I could google it, but so could you and that’s not why we’re here anyway.
We went to a cabin. Yup. One week after the Cave of Death we went to the Cabin of Death. No, not really, it was more the cabin of leaf changing tranquility and a moose. I found myself with the weekend off and Lindsay found herself in the same predicament, which almost never happens, so we tried to whip up some fun plans but it turns out everyone made plans for Labor Day before Friday afternoon. Literally, my brother, who was camping, told us there was no room for us cause his friends were coming up that night, he may have meant in his trailer but it sounded more like, in the whole Utah Wild. Well, just about to give up we called Lindsay’s cousin and our good friends, (they are the same people not two sets of people one being a cousin and one being a good friend…so I guess I should have wrote Lindsay’s cousin who is our good friend but that would complicate things, not like this parenthesized paragraph which only simplifies.) and they were more then happy to go to their grandfathers cabin with us. So we went…however, we did leave the backpack of death behind which is strange as it would have been perfect for such a trip. So we cabined, and took naps (that’s four adults and five kids under 5 all sleeping at the same time… karma for that hellish cave fiasco) and ate good trashy food and watched Brother Bear (really Phil Collins, that’s the best you can do? Perhaps it was, in which case, get a job.) and read the book club book and took a drive over unpaved mountain roads with all the kids free of seat-belts. I know, it could have been awful but it was wonderful.
Then this morning, my little family, all on our own, drove up to Mirror Lake and went to the Provo River Upper Falls or somewhere and it was down right lovely. The kids loved it, the dog loved it, we loved it, everyone happy and together.
As we drove away, my wife and I had a great young parenting talk and I thought I’d pass on our barely tested wisdom. Several weeks ago we had a hard talk…not a fight, a hard talk, and it seemed that there was this score keeping going on between her and I. When one of us would come home we would relay all the horrible and hard things two kids and a dog had done, the point being to prove to the other one how hard my day home with the kids was. It was strange but it was palpable. So after a while we got in to a fight…not a hard talk, a fight and it was as if we had been storing bullets of hard work we had been doing while the other did nothing. There was a big feeling of ‘I have it the hardest and I can prove it!’ Well, I don’t know how it is in your house but in my house after every fight there is the fight summery where we pin point where we went wrong. And it’s good, cause we’ve made up and we can cop up to our blame. And at some point one of us figured out this Score Keeping and we both knew that was the center. There is no equality in marriage. You never come out fair and square so don’t strive for it. There is, however, the good stuff and the bad stuff. And for weeks we had been laying the bad stuff at the others feet, hoping they’d trip on it and get all covered in it and know how much Bad Stuff I had to deal with because it had just ruined her favorite sweater. So we gave it up. The new rule was just give me the good stuff. When we tell each other about our days, we just pass off the good stuff. Lindsay has done much better than I have, in my defense I have been at work picking up the clothes I thought I asked you to hang up yourselves and return to me with a smile, but she told me that this new point of view has changed the way she parents. We have a two year old, so most days are pretty much 50/50, half good, half bad and so it’s just as easy to focus on one as it is the other, and she found that her days were just better when she thought about the good stuff.
So I know it’s not ground breaking, and I’m sure there is a Covey step that tells me all of that in a much better way, but for us, in our own little experiment, it’s worked…or is working. It turns out we really like taking care of our kids and we like having a partner who likes taking care of our kids, too. I guess what I’m saying is, take the drive to the Upper Falls, it’s worth the view.
Also, we saw a moose.