Married but Living Single

Christmas lights at Columbus Circle

There is a buoyancy when I have the kids to myself. I know I am not the only married person to feel this way. Lots of married friends tell me they love when their spouse travels for work. They can parent their own way — lay down the law or lighten the load.

But there’s even more relief when the chronically ill spouse is away for a few days. Around 11 pm, when I was unplugging our Christmas tree, my son asked, “Where’s Dad?” (He’d been gone since 7:30 in the morning.) “He’s playing Scrooge at a reading in a theater upstate. Will be back Monday.”

I felt guilty for feeling so happy to have my kids to myself. Mea culpa for not sugarcoating my situation and telling you that I love helping my husband pull on his shirt or tie his shoelaces.

Surely I could be more loving and patient. I am often in a rush, especially in the morning. Being married to someone with Parkinson’s Disease slows the caregiver down too. I need to shower. I need to launch myself and the kids into our day. I need to get to my desk at work with a focused mind. I would rather not remind someone to take their pills.

Last night the kids joined me at a Christmas party where we sang carols. We ate lasagna; they drank hot cider and I drank mulled wine. My burden was lightened — we were singing and sipping and chatting. And I chatted about deep things. My kids got bored. (I love when they get bored! I love giving them memories of hanging out at an adult’s party, eavesdropping and playing board games.)

My December goal — to throw and go to beaucoup des holiday parties is working out well.

2 thoughts on “Married but Living Single

  1. Hi Mary-Beth:

    You’re a spousal caregiver… do you know about us… What you write about is very familiar… The Well Spouse Association was there for me, and now I’m a volunteer with it… I wish you the best.

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