Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's funny (or not) because when Joe died I had a realization that I would not be living in his shadow anymore. To some extent with whatever went on in our lives, people always attributed any sort of overt action or thing that was done to him. If the kids said something funny, surely it was because of him; if there was disco ball hanging in the living room, surely it was his idea to hang it there; if the pond got shoveled, must of been him that did it; if the house got painted, he must be working hard on the weekends. I let this stuff go with kind of a "whatever" attitude but truthfully it drove me nuts inside. And, I knew, the people who really know me- my parents, my sisters- know that truth about it all anyway. I was a person before I was ever with Joe, living a pretty great life and DOING lots of stuff.

So how all of a sudden did everything in my life start getting attributed to him?

Rationally I know that Joe had a big personality and he was happy being the center of attention under many circumstances. And this change happened somewhat slowly over the years, and I rarely "tooted my own horn" so to speak, because for the most part it seemed petty to me to correct people when they assumed wrong.

But then when he was gone, I thought, well at least I would be recognized for who I am again.

I thought people would remember me, ROBIN (waving my hand wildly in the air- here I am!!). But that hasn't entirely happened. Insanely enough, it hasn't happened. He is no longer here and still things in my life, actions that I've taken, projects that I've completed, work that I've done, STILL are somehow attributed to him. How is this possible? I actually had someone say to me that he is somehow working THROUGH me. Seriously? Gee, thanks.

I will always put my husband on a pedastal, ALWAYS. I will always talk about his strength and spirit and all the good things about him ALWAYS. When he was here, I believed in him, that anything was possible that he wanted to achieve and I let him know that, ALWAYS. I do not believe that a discouraging word has any place when a person is doing their best and that is how I treated him.

How is it that such good positive energy has the ability to backfire on me?

I have done a lot of really great things in my life. I have accomplished many things that I am proud of before, during and after I was married. I will continue to live as I always have. I just wish that my accomplishments would be seen as my own, and not as his.
I cannot figure out if this is a societal issue (people assuming the "man" always gets stuff done while the woman stands by washing the dishes), if it is a personality issue (Joe's outgoing-in-all-situations personality as opposed to my laid back nature) or something else. What I do know is that it bugs me.

I have pretty much resorted to telling myself that as long as my children know the truth, no one else matters. And for the most part, my children do know because they live with me. They have seen my projects over the years, they know what I have done and that is important- not because I need glory or credit to boost my own ego, but for another very important reason- I want my kids to know what a woman is capable of. I do not want my kids to be the type of adults that assume the man does all the work while the woman does all things that are inconsequential. And more importantly, I don't want them to live as if the man does all of the work while the woman does all things that are inconsequential.

Here is a perfect example of what I am describing. And trust me, this is JUST ONE of many:

Recently my son asked me "why (everyone) always says it was Daddy that organized Jordyn's Ride" (Jordyn's Ride is a charity motorcycle ride that Joe and I worked on together). I pretty much knew what he was talking about but asked him what he meant. "Didn't YOU do Jordyn's Ride mommy?"

"Yes Luke, I did", I told him. "Daddy and I worked on it together".

Luke remembers all my work because I dragged him out doing errands for it constantly in the months leading up to it each year. He remembers me sitting at my computer working on emails and lists and the website and countless other things- the mail; the phone conversations, making signs; planning; organizing tshirts; talking with Joe about it, on and on. Luke remembers what I did. Thank God.

I have joked with myself that if I died tomorrow someone would write on my stone "Her husband did a lot of great things".

But my kids will know better.



Anonymous said...


Heather said...

I love this post Robin.