Thursday, October 7

Running Parallel

I was drawn to read this story in the New York Times this morning because of the pictures.  His creations are marvelous.  Then I noticed his way of interacting with his wife and son:
After nearly two decades of practice, Mr. Dougherty has honed his homecoming strategy. "I start a few days before by getting Linda and Sam in my current and immediate thoughts," he said. "That helps me remember that they are practiced in living without me. When I walk in the door, I have to give them a little space to adjust to my presence. My basic tendency would be to come barreling in. I try to wait a beat before I turn on the volume. I feel like I have to run parallel to them for a couple of hours before the pressures readjust."

 I don't know if this is how Colin would describe changing his mind from work to home, but it seems like it might be.  I find it hard to swallow sometimes that my husband has to put me in his immediate thoughts, because that's somewhere that I would like to be all the time.  However, I realize that in some cases, it's a blessing for him to have that male mind that can keep things to think about in separate compartments instead of all running on the same screen like they do in mine. 

When this guy from the article talks about giving his family space, it makes me wonder if he is just doing it so that they can adjust to him being the center while he's there.  That they have to adjust to his presence instead of him adjusting to theirs seems a little off balance.  Still, I appreciate the way he has apparently come to understand that an adjustment is necessary. 

With Colin gone this week, and me unsure of when he'll return, I find myself tempering the desire for him to be back because I don't want to be disappointed.  I do this in other situations as well - lowering my expectations for fear they won't be fulfilled.  It leads me to withdrawing, which is unhealthy.  It seems that life is too short to have to "run parallel."


Jenni said...

quite interesting.....a good reminder that the mind of men works differently than the mind of women. and that expectations should be adjusted accordingly.

Elaine said...

I like the metaphor. I study military families and its a very big deal when a parent returns from deployment for them to reintegrate carefully - not to jump back into parenting too fast after the spouse has been running the show solo. I'll hold on to this little tidbit as I'm sure running parallel will resonate with some families.