Monday, February 18, 2013

We NEVER fight or argue!

Do you believe that? No, I must admit we are pretty normal in that department too. We are, after all, two very different individuals trying to live life together, so arguments do in fact occur. 
The important thing is that we do not let small incidents or straws, break the back of our marriage. "Being in a relationship is not for sissies" is something we learnt this weekend, attending a PREP-class payed by the army due to Kjetil's Afghanistan deployments. While participating in this class, I remembered an incident in our lives, that changed a wrong turn we were taking. I will share it with you because it might also remind you of the important things in life. 

About six months after we had our third child, we bought a huge, old house deeply in need of renovation. At the same time, Kjetil attended a class the army sent him to, 4 hours away. He therefore only came home in the weekends. I was thus alone with three children under the age of five in addition to a one-year-old I had in daycare who arrived at 07 every morning. I got up at six at the latest to paint, tear or lay some floorboards before the kids woke up and the daycare-child arrived. It was a challenging everyday life and I really looked forward to the weekends when Kjetil came home. But my expectations to the weekends, were too high. He was tired after hours of driving and because the bank demanded we renovated the rental-flat in the basement to let it out as soon as possible, he spent most of the weekends down there. So I ended up alone with the kids again, and we had little time to be a couple in the midst of all this. 

As the months went by, small trivia became large momentum of irritation. Things started looking dim for us. "Luckily" something happened that reminded us of what really mattered. It was early in the day and I just returned home after a trip outside. There was an unknown telephone-number on the phone. I decided a little to and fro, but ended up dialing the number. 
- Kristiansand's surgical intensive unit...
The woman in the other end did not know why I had been called by them and we hung up. I thought about it for a few seconds before calling the main desk at the hospital. Just to be sure. 
- Hi! Is there a Kjetil Bakkland admitted at the hospital?
A few seconds lingered before the answer came.
- Yes, there is.
My heart rate quickened and it felt as if my heart was trying to pound its way out. In the back of my head the words surgical intensive unit echoed. What had happened?! The woman put me over to another department where I got the following message:
- I will put you through to those who worked on him. 
Worked on him!? What in the world did that mean?! Many different images crossed my mind at the speed of light. Had they operated on him so that he now lay in a hospital bed full of wires and needles? Worked on him, in past tense because they no longer worked on him because he was dead? I was just about freaking out already and when they tried to put me through, the connection was lost. I knew nothing. At that moment I broke down in tears. I was terrified and worried sick about what could have happened. It took me a few minutes before I was able to cool down and start the telephone-marathon over again. I was finally put through to the right department and it was as if my heart stopped for a second, not wanting to make a sound to spoil the silence ready to receive the message waiting for me. Finally to know something. 
- Hold on, and you can speak with him yourself. 
I sighed and kick-started my heart back to life. He was alive. And he was able to speak. 

It turned out that he had been in a car accident on his way to Kjevik and our car was a total wreck. Kjetil had nothing but bruises from the seat belt.  A miracle in itself. The hospital had him for observation in case of internal damage, but things were looking good. 

Not knowing whether he was dead or alive, not knowing if our family was a family anymore, was a huge wake up call for me. All the small trivia that had become so important, was now meaningless. You see it in movies about catastrophes all the time. How people wake up to the reality of what the really important things in life are. You become aware of the big picture again. It is like looking at life with a whole other pair of glasses. You see each other in a different way. 
The minutes where I did not know whether he was dead or alive, were indeed terrible. But they sure woke me up and helped me remember what matters most. 

"Pick your fights" is an expression I often use when dealing with the kids, but it is indeed very important in relationships too. So my advice for you today is to look past the petty things that annoy us, pick out what really matters and talk that through, leave all else behind and look ahead together instead.


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