My Grandpa was fond of the saying that, “Anything worth having is worth working for.” He reminded me often. When I was earning money to buy a new bike. When I was working for him in his auto parts store. When Will and I got married so young and our first child came along. It was all hard work. It was all worth working for.
I have always lived with that idea somewhere in my psyche. Life is hard work. Working hard came first, then if there was time or energy, there was room for fun. That was how I grew up. I was careful when raising my kids to instill a good work ethic in them but their fun time was always important too. I generally picked up the slack like moms do. I didn’t realize that, maybe out of habit, I was picking up that slack for Will too. He would come home late, or not finish a project, or only get half the lawn mowed, or not be able to make it for a kid or grandkid special event. No problem. I was always there. Always. Good old dependable, hard-working, never-let-anyone-down, get stuff done, Leigh. The kids had their fun because I took care of all the stuff that needed doing. Will had his “fun” too…at my expense. Because he knew I would believe whatever lies he told me. Because he knew I trusted him. Because he knew I would step up and take care of everything. Because he knew he could take advantage of me. Because he knew how to hide his cheating life and protect his addictions from me and everyone else. He worked hard at that at least. I worked hard on life, and family and our marriage. The problem is, that I was doing it on my own.
Now, we are trying to do it together. And guess what? It is STILL hard work. Will is coming out of the fog of his delusional life. It is a slow, s . l. o. w. process, and I hate learning patience. I hate that he doesn’t just “get it” and be wonderful all at once. After all, I “got it” from the day I said I do. I understood committment, and covenants, and promises, and fidelity and faithfulness. Sometimes that was hard work for me too..but I understood it and I lived by it. It is a frustrating and sometimes painful slog forward but, there are glimmers of hope and even moments of joy as Will’s little light bulb of enlightenment shines bright. He is getting this whole idea of US…just us two. He is understanding that I am the only woman in his life and he is happy, relieved, buoyed up, grateful, and even overcome with emotion at times with that realization. We are working hard together to understand one another and the deep pain of our past. For Will, he is learning to feel that pain and it is excruciating to watch. But it is all progress. It is all moving forward. It is all towards a future that will hopefully rob the past of its taint and sorrow.
It is hard, hard work. But, anything worth having is worth working for. I believe WE, and US and OUR marriage is worth it.