Married to Grad School (Part 2): Bringing home the scraps

The days when you want more out of each other than the other has to give are harder than I prepared for. Like this morning. Unfortunately, Nick and I have both been really tired this week. I’m thinking this is probably from working non-stop throughout the weekend on my own tasks (professional and household) and Nick dying a little inside with every poorly written lab report he read. That and football games which end at 11:00pm in Central Time. (We are definitely missing PCT during football season…) So there have been several mornings of Nick sleeping in, barely getting up or still (in his brain) being asleep during breakfast. Which I get entirely. The benefit here is that I am a morning person and have to be at work at a particular time so I can pull myself together for that. Nick is a sort of morning/late morning person and, because of his schedule, does have the option of some extra sleep. But I always want him to be awake and alert in the morning and spend time just staring in to my eyes. (Just kidding, we would both fall asleep if we were just staring at each other.) There is this struggle of wanting a lot out of him when I can because I don’t get the time I crave. My weekends have been taken over by lab reports, NSF proposal writing, writing quizzes, etc.. My nights have been taken over by lab reports, NSF proposal writing, writing quizzes, etc… My morning have been taken over by….

…exhaustion.

Often, there is not an issue of either of us wanting time, attention and focus from the other person on these days. But there is no energy. I call these “Bringing home the scraps” days. (Aka, days when you have nothing left to give once you get home at the end of the day or being entirely spent when you get home.) What I’ve learned during this first semester of graduate school is that “Scraps” weeks are real and they are killin’ me softly. (I’m an oldies lover at heart, just ask Nick) And when these weeks hit, sometimes the very best thing it seems we can do is just sleep. Even though that is not good time together, we can’t force enjoying time together and if one person is falling asleep during the first quarter of the Thursday night game then you are really in trouble. The only other option is clearing our schedules and running away together (for a day or two) forgetting our phones at home. This option sounds great but, ultimately, probably not feasible until retirement. So in order to not bring home the scraps, we have to take care of ourselves which sometimes means dragging out the necessary care of each other. It’s not a perfect system but at least I get to fall in to a deep sleep with Nick’s sleepy arms wrapped around my sleepy body. (Yes, we fall asleep snuggling almost every night. No, Nick’s arm does not fall asleep. BOOM.)

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