I sometimes forget that just because I had an easy time with school and loved it, doesn't mean it is that way for everyone else. Andy's dad and step-mom stopped by on their way home from Church on Sunday (aside: they drive almost 2 hours each way to go to a church down in Littleton. I think it is completely crazy, but that's just me) to drop off a few things. As I was showing them the nursery, Andy's dad turned to me and said 'So it sounds like Andy is having a hard time with school this semester'. Um what? said my brain. I hadn't heard anything from Andy, from what I knew he was enjoying actually getting into his degree classes. I think his dad saw the confusion cross my face and corrected 'well it seems to be keeping him really busy'. I agreed with him there. He is taking 18 credits this semester, but considering I hadn't seen him crack a book all weekend or mention anything along the lines of having a lot to do, I just assumed his work-load was manageable. Turns out I was wrong.
As we changed the sheets that night and got ready for bed, I asked him what was going on. I think he has a hard time bringing this stuff up with me because he feels guilty. He knows that I went to school full-time and worked full-time through my entire college education. I don't ever bring that up to him. I admit the fact that I am an uber-nerd and a super-overachiever. I have always been very organized and on top of everything. That stuff comes easily to me, but I know it isn't that way for Andy. When he first registered for classes, I tried to pass on some of the things I had done to stay on top of my homework, but he was pretty resistive, so I let it go. I figured he needed to be able to figure out what worked for him.
One thing he can do that astounds me is to watch tv and movies while he studies. I have never been able to do that. I couldn't even listen to music and do homework, unless it was something that didn't involve much indepth thought, like math. The times I have tried to study while watching TV it has taken me 3 times as long to get through assignments. Since you can imagine time management was essential to be able to get school done and still sleep before work the next day, I always opted to basically lock myself in a quiet room and plug through assignments. He insists he can't focus unless there is something going on in the background. But I can't help but have this sneaking suspicion that this kind of thinking can't be true. I realize people have different learning styles though, so again, I just try to back off and not say anything.
As we were talking on Sunday night I asked him if he was overwhelmed this semester. He admitted that it was a lot. Going to a bigger campus, taking classes that involved lots of reading and assignments every night, taking a math class and French. I can see how stacked up it could feel like a lot. But he admitted that he hasn't been as dedicated to it as he could be (thus the not doing anything school-related all weekend). From everything he was saying, it sounded like he had a few things worked out. He is thinking about joining the French club so that he can get some help with his accent and he wants to go stop by the math lab to get help with some questions he has about that stuff. I think it is really awesome that there are already drastic changes in Andy through this school process. Andy before school was always quick to throw up his hands in frustration and be like 'I don't know what to do, so I give up'. This side of him is quite different. Having him realize he needs to be more dedicated and that it isn't a matter of not having time, it is him needing to spend the time to get things done, just makes me think that as much as I have wanted to intervene and give advice (which as we wives know can sound like nagging) I think it has been a good thing for me to back off and let him do this on his own.
I think it has been good for me to. As I have mentioned a time or two, I tend to internalize other people's problems and that usually results in some anxiety. When friends are going through a rough time and I try to help, but they still struggle, it is really hard on me. If I pass on a piece of advice that I feel would benefit someone, but they don't take it and continue to struggle, it is frustrating. But you know what? I can't be in control of everyone else's lives and their actions. I need to remember that I don't know what is best for everyone else (even though I often think I do).
But one thing he did say that struck a chord with me was 'I feel like I am having a hard time succeeding at both school and this (implying our relationship). I really want to be doing good at both, but it feels like I am failing at both right now'. The reason this resonated with me is because I completely failed at my marriage when I was in school. It was definitely on the back-burner more times than I care to admit and I was so busy that I didn't even realize it until after I graduated and suddenly I could see the damage that had been done. It took us a long time to heal through that and it is probably one of the only things I regret about my life. I wish I had realized it sooner and been more dedicated to it than worrying about getting the best grades and pleasing everyone at work. I am thankful we were able to get through it, but again, I kind of wish it never happened. When Andy said this though it kind of took me by surprise. I have in no way been feeling like he hasn't been here for me. Despite the fact that I know it goes against his manly nature, he has been fixing me dinner several times a week and getting up to refill my water glass. Taking my plate to the sink, not letting me shovel the sidewalk (even though I told him I am pregnant not an invalid). He has been doing all of these things for me. I assured him that he is wrong, that he has been doing a great job at our marriage. That I am very happy and in love with him.
After this conversation I couldn't help but get a pang of guilt about Nugget. Is he coming at a really bad time? Is Andy going to be able to handle a newborn, a moody wife and finish the last month and a half of his semester? I really want to help make that time easier on him. Luckily he has Spring Break the third week of March. Maybe Nugget will arrive late enough that Andy will just have to limp through a couple days of classes before he gets a week off to bond, sleep and try to get ahead with his school work. I think I will just have to turn to our friends and family who have all voiced their desires to help us through the transition. I need to be okay with asking for help from others.....this is definitely going to be a learning process for all of us. But I know it will be okay. Probably way better than okay. Probably just perfect.