Friday, September 11, 2015

What Do You Do?

What a loaded question. Lately, Stacy has been talking to me a lot about that question and all of the implications that come with it. It immediately puts a label on someone, which can serve the purpose of categorizing the people we meet, separating them from one another as we try to remember new acquaintances and piece together details that may be important to fledgling relationships. But labels can be dangerous, too.

Labels can pigeonhole us in one another's minds. We go from being an aggregate of qualities, characteristics, experiences, strengths, and all of the things that make us who we are, to a one or two-word title that may or may not (and probably does not) capture even the smallest portion of who we are. And even if it does, those labels and titles mean different things to different people.

Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Uncle, Physician, Acupuncturist--each of these give a glimpse of what I may be, but none of them tell a complete picture. Each of them gives a person a chance to extract meaning related to his or her individual experiences, which may vary from my own interpretation and significance. These subjective thoughts spawn depth in our conversations and shared experiences, but they can be problematic.

All this is a preamble to the crux of my writing here, though. What I'm getting at is that I am married to one of the most interesting and amazing people I know. This is a time of year that can be stressful for a variety of reasons, and to watch her navigate all the crazy twists and turns that is our daily life as of late is nothing short of impressive. Stacy has many titles, but I don't really think any one of them captures all that she is and does.

One of my recent favorite pictures of Stacy, with Scout, her faithful companion

I've always felt so fortunate to be married to my best friend. I don't know what a wife is "supposed" to be, but I can tell you that over the years she has been, among other things:

party planner
hand holder

Easily the best mother I've ever seen in action. The way she constantly makes sure she is being the best mother she can be to our children is inspiring. And as much as she contemplates what makes a great mother, she is equally able to jump right in and "feel" it, too. What is mother? How about:

homeschool group coordinator
menu planner
taxi driver
fashion consultant
hazardous waste engineer

Business Partner
We've owned and operated our business together for almost 8 years. It's been a great experience for us, one that has guided so many of our decisions over that time. Again, it's hard to quantify all that she does to make sure our business is successful. She is and has been all of these things and more:

interior decorator
marketing director
PR director
project manager
custodial staff

And what of all of the titles that don't fit neatly under some other heading?

community organizer
animal trainer
social planner
book club leader

So, Stacy. In all of this I'm trying to tell you that I don't care if there is one label or title that sums up all that you are. In fact, I'm glad there's no one word, because to limit a description of all of your contributions to a handful of characters arranged into some corporate-style title is to completely discount the wonderful, inspirational, beautifully complex, intelligent, gorgeous person that you are. My life is all the better for having you in it, and I hope you know how much you mean to me. I love you.


Gramsy said...

Wow I'm worn out just reading about all you do and are good at it all. Mar you are a lucky man. Love to you all.

Gramsy said...

Mark not mar

Dr. Mark said...

I am a VERY lucky man. When you think about all of the separate jobs that can go into a simple title, it gets REALLY exhausting. No wonder Stacy gets tired!

Boquinha said...

Wow. Well, this was a really nice treat to see today! Thank you. I really appreciate this. It's something, as you know, that has been on my mind a lot. I don't have a stereotypical career, so figuring out "what I do" or how to identify myself isn't always easy by today's standards in society. I do a lot of little things and they all add up. I'm grateful that you value and appreciate them. I'm of two minds when I read this: one thinks, "Wow, hey, thank you! I DO do a lot of stuff!" and the other immediately tries to minimize it all and think it's really not that much or that worth raving about. But really, what matters is what WE think. And I thank you for thinking about this and talking it through with me and helping me. I love our partnership. I'm pretty lucky myself. ;) I love you.

And thank you, Gramsy, for the nice comment. We love you, too!