January 24, 2014

The Team, The Team, The Team

“The Team. The Team. The Team.”

That is what my dad said over and over when we were growing up. Him and my mom were “The Team.”

“The Team” could not be infiltrated, not even by our naughty children conniving. They worked together on everything. They never made decisions without the other, or at least never overruled a decision that the other had already made. (Although I do remember my mom at supper telling my younger sister “If you don’t eat, you don’t get treats!”, and my dad sneaking quite a few bites to help her finish.)

But I also remember my sister in high school asking permission for weekend plans. My mom would always say she had to discuss it with dad first. (And if my sister didn’t like that my mom would simply reply, “If you need to know now, then the answer is no.”)

“The Team.” It made us roll our eyes at times. It’s much easier to get your way as a kid when there is a “good cop” and a “bad cop” parent.

As we got older, I saw my parents working as a team in new ways. Every Thursday became date night. (A sacred event not to be touched by any other plans.) My dad started coming home a little earlier from work, (although is 4:30 in the afternoon really that early if you arrive to work at 5 in the morning?), as well as helping with chores around the house: doing dishes, vacuuming, making everyone chocolate malts for dessert before bed.

For my parents, it wasn't about “let's split the work 50/50.” It was about working together. It was about teamwork in accomplishing their goals, keeping up their home, and living their lives. And I love the example they set for us in marriage growing up.

Because I have a teammate now too.

And sometimes, I struggle to work as a team. Sometimes I am not a team player. Sometimes I resist my teammate’s help.

Before we got married I secretly wanted (and still want) to be that super wife from the 1950’s. You know, the one who makes elaborate meals, juggles the baby, and vacuums the carpet in heels and pearls?  These days it’s my goal to be showered and out of my sweatpants by noon, or at least before Collin gets home. (Although, I know I married the right guy when he tells me I look good in sweatpants and a hoodie.)

But sometimes I try to do too much on my own, to be too independent for this team sport called “marriage.” I wonder why I can’t seem to get the house clean, get my work done, and take care of a 5 month old. (And I get slightly jealous of the other moms out there with 2+ kids who seem to get everything done!)

Or worse, sometimes when I do ask for help I have a list of regulations of how things ought to be done.

But here I have this teammate who is willing to help, who constantly offers to help. A husband who even after long days at work comes through the door and picks Jocelyn up right away, gives her baths, rocks her to sleep at night, even offers to get her in the middle of the night. That’s quality.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

So for me, sometimes I need to have a slice of humble pie and accept the fact that I could use the help I have been offered. I need to realize that maybe there is an easy solution for me feeling stressed and exhausted at the end of many days. Because admitting that I need help is not weakness, but a sign of strength, a sign of simple self-awareness. (And most teams don’t function well with only one player doing all the work anyways.)

And other times I need to be that teammate who accepts help and doesn't try to regulate every step of the task being completed. I need to show a little faith and trust.

I want to be a good teammate. I want to be a helper. And I want to be humble enough to be helped. I hope and pray our marriage will be a model of teamwork to our children, just as my parent’s marriage was (and still is) to me. As my sister taught her kids to say, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Grace and Peace,