Crouching down to fit under the porch, I awkwardly push a wagon filled with two cement pier pads in it for about 50 feet, crawling all the while before shouting out to Seth to see if I was close enough. "No," he calls "they go over there, up in that corner." He was pointing to a spot another thirty feet away, where the ceiling was hardly more than 24 inches off of the dirt. I silently groaned as I bend over to pick up one of the piers and stumble my way forward. The sweat pours down my face, and my arms ache from carrying this heavy load, even just a few feet. I push forward, struggling against the instinct the drop the pier pad right there in the dirt and rush forward as far as I can and using all my remaining energy, launch it as far as it will go...about three feet. I then roll it snowball style up the dirt incline until I can push it no further and call it close enough. Breathing heavily I collapse in a heap, dirt covering my face and body. Only nine more pier pads to go. Ugh. "How does he do this all the time?" I wonder. I roll my head to the side, watching Seth laugh good naturedly at me as he continues to dig from the only place under the house deep enough to stand in. He's been there all day, working tirelessly without complaint and I had showed up less than an hour ago. This time we're working on what we hope will be our own home, but usually he's working on other's houses. He's a pretty incredible guy. Sometimes I forget this.
Sometimes I feel as though I am doing the majority of the work. I wake up at all hours of the night to feed, change and soothe whoever might need it. After getting not near enough sleep most days i wake up, get the kids dressed, fed, and off to school. I then run errands with the remaining children (2-3 depending on the day), cook, clean, and do a whole lot of refereeing, soothing and diaper changing in between. I keep things running, if not like a well oiled ship, at least like one that's still sailing and well loved. Seth comes home from a long day of work, eats dinner and sits down. I continue to put the kids to bed, wash dishes, sweep floors, pick up toys and then when I finally flop down next to him to watch some show I usually fold multiple loads of laundry, and then put them away without waking any children. All day, every day, with very few exceptions.
At least that's how it feels. In reality Seth wakes up before six and is out of the house before seven, sometimes earlier. He heads off to a full day of physical labor, mental problem solving as well as battling the elements (picture siding houses in an Oregon winter or roofing in summer.) He makes his own breakfast and lunch and never once complaining. He sacrifices for me so I can do what I've always dreamed of, stay home and take care of my babies. While I "survive" my days by chatting with friends and having our eight children take over the house (though literally some days it does feel like we're barely going to make it through the day), picking berries, or sitting at the beach enjoying the weather while watching lots of children play. Meanwhile my husband just goes on working day in and day out, and deals with all the problems and stresses of the day. When he comes home he may sit down and take a load off, but he is certainly not uninterrupted. He happily plays with our kiddos, reads bedtime stories and builds cardboard airplanes. They ride bikes together and he changes his share of diapers. He is a wonderful dad, just ask his kids. If Sequoia needs someone to cuddle longer than 2 minutes you better believe it's going to be him, not me. When we finally settle down, and I do indeed pick up the laundry he often works on paperwork as well. If he doesn't, who can blame him. The truth is we both work hard. Really really hard. So much so that it can be hard to see past all that's in front of us personally. We both make sacrifices and we both have moments where we feel we are doing way more than our share. Sometimes we are full of appreciation for one another and other times we lash out in frustration, feeling overwhelmed. Our kids are needy and tiring and wonderful.
Twice a year or so I get away for a well deserved weekend and come home to a husband who is ready for me to be home and to go back to work himself. For a few days he's always extra helpful and a little in awe of how I do it all (though my quality of work is sometimes less than he would love - that's the sacrifice I have to make to get it all done.) We both struggle to do the other's jobs, and we both need one another. He is an amazing contractor and provider, and being a mom is what I was born to do. Sometimes we need a reminder of how hard the other works. I know I do. Seth is an incredibly talented, hardworking, loving man that I'm honored to be married to. I don't know if it's possible to have a healthy marriage if you only focus on all that you do and ignore the other half. Comparing our work is like comparing a cotton picker (back when it was done by hand) with a rocket scientist. They both work tirelessly and come home exhausted, but in two totally different incomparable ways. You could never really say who works harder, because they both give it their all. In the end it's not about who works hardest, but more about being able to appreciate one another and support one another - making sure we each get our needs met.
Right now we are in a crunch spot, trying to fix the foundation of what we hope to be our house, soon enough to get a loan on it before it's too late. This is a stressful, expensive process and Seth is giving up his big hunting trip for it. Something he's looked forward to all year (two years really, since he didn't get to go last year either.) This was to be his first year bow hunting and we're not sure if he'll get to at all, though I hope he will get to go on his late hunt. Hunting, being in the woods, long drives, this is how he gets recharged and he's trading it to do what he hates the most - work under a house digging out dirt and replacing beams all so we can get this amazing place to raise our family.
I guess when all is said and done we make a great team, and I hope I never forget that. Never forget I'm not alone, and that I'm not the only one fighting for this team. Thanks my love. I appreciate you.