Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How Does He Handle Stress? (Or, How Our Vacation Was Almost Ruined)

The aftermath.

This one is for the single ladies who hope to be married someday.

So, this is about how our vacation was almost ruined. We decided to take a road trip from Colorado to Washington State with three children 4 and under. (Yeah, that sounds like the punchline, but it's not.) Our first day started out great with us leaving the house by 5:30 and already North of Denver by 7. But then ...

Our 2-year-old started to whimper and before we could find an exit, she got sick. All over her clothes. All over her blanket. All over the car seat. We stopped at a gas station and used about half a package of wipes, changed her clothes, gave her kids' Dramamine. I was pretty proud about how quickly and efficiently we took care of the problem, and the car didn't even smell THAT bad (most of the "content" had gone on her clothes).

Ten hours later, we were pulling into Billings, Montana, to meet a friend for dinner, and when we opened the van, we realized our youngest had experienced a similar "event." We used the rest of the wipes and quickly changed her into a clean outfit. (This is a good time to interject that my husband, Kevin, is a packing wizard. He thinks of everything, and his foresight has saved the day more than once.) After we left dinner, we had two more hours of driving until the hotel. The baby was wailing inconsolably, so I switched seats to sit next to her in the back. Thinking she was hungry, I fed her two pear-spinach pouches. And about 20 minutes later, two pear-spinach pouches came back up ... all over the seat (lucky for us, the seat was green to begin with).

We got to the hotel at 10 p.m. with three exhausted children, two soiled car seats and about half a dozen loads of stuff to carry up a flight of stairs to our room. This situation could have ruined our vacation. I was on the brink of wondering if we had made an epic mistake even attempting a road trip with three young children. At 11, we were moved into our room and Kevin went in search of laundry services. At 12, I had finally quieted down our rowdy children, who were showing the effects of being in car seats all day. Let's just say, I did not pass the stress test. I was pretty close to a break-down. But not Kevin. He simply did what had to be done. In this case, that meant sitting in the laundry room until 2 a.m. until the seats, straps, buckles and soiled clothes had been washed. The next morning, he had to painstakingly put the seats back together before we could go somewhere. (We drove through Yellowstone National Park and had a lovely time.)

This is what I saw on the bathroom counter the next morning.

There are many things I appreciate about my husband, but near the top of the list is this ability he has to handle stressful situations—keeping a positive outlook and not giving up. This quality is a huge blessing to our family, especially during this demanding season of life. It reminds me of a blog post I wrote not too long ago about the importance of looking for a spouse who suffers well. This is the same thing, really, just on a smaller scale. But six years—and three kids—into marriage, I see even more now than I used to how important it is to be with someone who can weather the downs of life.

We're now a week and a half into our road trip, and we've had a few other trying moments (I don't suggest road tripping with a newly potty-trained 2-year-old), but nothing as bad as that first day. Our vacation wasn't ruined after all. So, ladies ... as you date, notice how your guy handles stress. How does he respond to problems and inconveniences? Someone who keeps a cool head and calm demeanor in stressful situations will diffuse potential meltdowns. Plus, that kind of person just makes the journey more fun.      


At 6:37 AM, Blogger BeckyGio said...

I will second this. Heartily. You're SO right Suzanne. I never thought about this being a quality to look for in a potential spouse but knowing what I know now, it would be at the top of my list. From a different perspective, neither I nor my husband handle stress well. So we spend much of our marriage trying to minimize stress so it doesn't cause us to implode.


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