Relationships and commitments

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A little backstory for reference, some friends had their first baby a week before the year ended. Having a kid grown and gone, it’s fun watching the whole process begin again – without the sleepless nights, sore body, ears on high alert and perpetual dead arm from carrying an infant around nearly non-stop. ‘Auntie’ duty is waaaay easier than Mommy duty. Dirty diaper, back to dad. Fussy hungry baby, back to mom. Contingency plans for ev.er.y.thing and finding yet another mystery stain on your favorite shirt? Hmm sounds familiar but I might be blocking it.

OK, back to task. So the new dad is not American and in his country it’s the norm for the new dad to gather with friends at the local pub for a drink in the first few weeks after a child’s birth. Are you saying, “Well, this presents a dilemma now, doesn’t it?”

Well, to me, the answer is “Not in the least” because a) these friends are aware of and very supportive of our decision to refrain from restaurants, cafe’s, bars, etc; b) we had already visited with them and shared a congratulatory drink (with the dad) the day after the wee one was born; and c) when the “Sorry, would love to but, ya know” went out the response was “Ok. It’s just the tradition back home. It’s going to be fun, all the guys are invited, would have enjoyed having you there too.”

To Jeff, however, it became a major dilemma in his mind. His friendships were on the line. He wasn’t being responsive to a friend. Things were at risk of going belly up if he didn’t go. And anyways, It’s just a drink. (Insert a bit of side eye here from me.) You get the idea. This was, by the way, the 4th of January. Halfway through the first week of 2019.

Long story short, he went. I visited the new mom at their place for the evening. When we reconvened later that evening, I laid out my disappointment with his decision and the reality that things like this are going to happen throughout the year. Where do we draw the line? When is a reason “good enough” to break this promise we made to each other and when is it a convenient excuse? What about being responsive to our commitment? What did it say that he couldn’t even get past the first week without buckling? We both went to bed angry, not even gonna lie. But Saturday dawned new and life goes on. Today, he admitted that the change in our going out habits has been rather harder than he expected it to be and apologized for some on-going surliness this past week.

So what’s next? Well, I’ve said my piece, didn’t rant and rave, but definitely made my feelings known. I’ve moved on with the knowledge that I can’t make his commitment stick if he chooses not to, but that I can and will hold myself to the decision we made. My guess is that Jeff won’t make breaking this promise a regular habit. I hope that it will be a one-time blip and that we’ll laugh about it in months to come.

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Yesterday, we had our first Open Table lunch for friends. We made Pantry-Basics Tomato Soup and Two-Sided, Extra Cheesy, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with frosted brownies for dessert. Comfort food at its most basic, easy to prepare, and delicious. We did a repeat tonight with the leftover soup and, like chili and spaghetti sauce always are, it was even better as the flavors definitely mingled and mellowed overnight in the refrigerator. We made some no-frills grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it which were more to my liking, but Jeff missed the in-your-face bite that the grated parmesan melted onto the outsides gave to yesterday’s sandwiches.

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