For the last month or so, I have tried to prep myself for what life was to become. Not knowing how the splenectomy would affect Tiffany. Not knowing how chemo would affect my wife's energy. Not knowing how long this would last, I figured that it would be best if I just took the stance that she would be able to do very little and considered the following:
All this would mean taking over family responsibilities Tiffany has been doing, for, well, forever. Getting the kids up, getting them dressed, fed, prepped for the day and out the door. It meant trying to pick up the house, make dinner, do dishes, clean and fold laundry. It meant doing the finances (some people may think it funny, that I, being an accountant, have left the finances to my wife to do. But number crunching when I get home from work just isn't my thing - that, and Tiffany has said she loves to count the money, so it works out great for both of us), paying the bills, clipping the coupons. It meant becoming the chauffeur, the chef, the maid, the gardener. It meant wiping faces, breaking up fights, reading stories, and finding lost shoes. It meant helping with homework, helping with school projects, ensuring hair is combed, and that baths are taken. It meant to be available for choir ensembles, ukulele concerts, sporting games, and chess tournaments. It meant playing hide-and-go-seek, watching Barney, drawing stick figures, and playing with balloons. It meant to give hugs in times of sorrow, to encourage in times of defeat, and congratulate in times of success. It meant to lead in prayers, scripture study, and to teach this by example. It meant all these things, and more. Not that I never helped out, but I have to admit that I leave a lot of these responsibilities to Tiffany. She is the one that directs all this. All I do is take responsibility to go to work (which, for what is worth, is work). Then come home and do what Tiffany needed done.
But you see, over the past month I started prepping myself to become that great nurturer. And to do it while trying to take care of my wife's new needs. At first, it seemed overwhelming and daunting. It forced me on my knees. But as time went on, and seeing the help I would get as I learned these responsibilities from friends and loved ones, I started to understand the divine nature that women, or at least my wife (though I have seen it in many other women, especially mothers), instinctively have. I won't speak for all men, but I think generally, we men don't understand this divine gift our women have. I have always said Tiffany was amazing. Now it is beyond amazement.
I have that understanding opened to me over the last few weeks as I wanted to give my family the best without the benefit of having both a mother and a father caring for them. It has had me ache for one parent households and all they have to accomplish. But it also excited me, as I had some understanding placed before my eyes. I know now, more than I ever did, how much my wife has done for our family (and for that matter, how much my mom did while I was growing up). I also understand the needs that my little family has.
Not knowing what the future currently holds, we hope to find out more tomorrow, I have come to the conclusion that if nothing else, this experience has given me this wonderful gift which will strengthen me forever more. It's just to bad that I am so bullheaded. Life would be easier if I could learn these lessons without having to go through these tough trials.
The future is exciting. It matters not the difficulties that lay ahead. God is in charge; if we simply put faith in Him we will all learn the lessons we need to in this life and prepared for the next. There is definitely Joy of this, our Journey.
I hope you see your journey in the same light.