Monday, August 14, 2006

Marriage and School Forms

In this age of amazing technological advancements, why am I still filling out school forms, page by page, writing the pediatrician’s name and phone number on enough forms to create such an intimacy with the letters they begin to look foreign?

Like you feel about your spouse after 15 years. Do I know you? I’ve seen you very day, but do I know you?

Marriage and school forms.

There is a parallel. Three kids, three sets of forms, each 15 pages long, each requiring a signature, your child’s name, emergency numbers, by the time I get to the last page, I don’t read anything. I sign and start writing the pediatrician’s name and number on a form that could be giving permission to sell my kid to the highest bidder. It’s not that I don’t care about the care about my children or don’t understand why the after school program needs to know the names, numbers and driver’s license information for all of our family, extended family, and people who might look like our family- I just stop reading.

You spend years with the same person, living together, going through the same routines, breathing the same air you start to forget to look at them and remember the details of who they are. Some of it is inevitable, how can you not be lulled into a familiarity after so long? But some of it is not.

Ben informed me the other day, when he was furious with his other mother; he was NOT going to breathe the same air as her.

Uh, that will be hard, I noted.

NO, I’m going to breathe THIS air, and he stuck his face next to the air conditioner.

A creative solution, I thought.

And in my marriage right now, we are looking for some creative solutions. We let things go for too long. We were breathing the same air and it started to get annoying. Difficult. To say we’re on some rocky ground now is like saying Mitt Romney is kind of a Mormon. Kids, life, the swirl of activity around you and suddenly, you have no idea who is sleeping next to you at night. Except that they always hog the covers. They refuse to get up with the kids in the middle of the night. The annoying things stand out.

She used to play the piano for me. I would sit on the bench next to her and turn the pages. Where she had no words to express herself, she would play Beethoven with such elegance and passion, it would make me cry.

I used to cook elaborate meals, with fresh ingredients hunted down from the best places, and pick a perfect wine, and light candles. She would listen to be ramble on about the wine, where it was grown, how much rain there was that year. My passion would come out in my descriptions of the selection of the recipe, the story of the wine.

We knew each other.

Now, we never see each other. And when we do, there are schedules to discuss. Strategy for the newest child issue that has come up- Ben clearly needs his own room. There is no room on the third floor for anyone. How do we keep him from killing his younger brother before space can be made? There is no toilet paper. Who is going to BJ’s next? Did you pay the mortgage or was I suppose to? Why can’t you help more? Why can’t you? The strategy/planning session becomes bickering. Frustration. And before anything can be solved, someone is chasing the cat through the house with a tube of toothpaste.

I’m tired of filling out school forms. I’m tired of bickering about who should fold the laundry and why my job is just as important as hers. I need some creative solutions.

Maybe I’ll go stick my face next to the air conditioner for a while.