Saturday, August 10, 2013

Anniversary Chapter 11: Adding to the Tool Belt

These anniversaries are starting to creep up on me too fast.  I feel like the 10-year anniversary party we had was a couple weeks ago, but indeed another year has come to a close for Team Carroll.  As I was thinking about what I wanted to write, I happened to catch John Legend's newest single "All of Me" and one of the lines of the chorus struck me as it succinctly sums up the attitude I bring to my  marriage:

"Even when I lose I'm winning
'Cause I give you all, all of me
And you give me all, all of you"
I talked last year about always doing the self-work that would enable me to be the best partner that I could be, however I had no real idea of how I would grow.  Turns out that with my new gig I was afforded much more time to be a part of the day-to-day lives of my boys, which required me to access parenting skills that had previously been dormant.  My household management skills were exercised like never before this year and I relished every minute of it (Don't believe me? Check drjoncarroll on Instagram).  I found myself having to create a memo in my phone to remember Lil Man's activity schedule.  I had to step up my cooking skillz as I was in charge of serving it more often than I ever had.  I embraced the opportunity to be a better household admin because of the time it allowed me to spend with the boys as well as become a more well-rounded man.  I know there are many fathers who don't get to spend that kind of quality time with their offspring, so I felt blessed to be able to do so.  My hope is that they one day feel they are better men because of the discussions we've had and that they've seen Dad do the same things Mommy does when she's home with them.  My appreciation of the years when Nkechi held down the bedtime routine grew even deeper this year.  Many days I'd fall asleep as I put Lil Man and the Munchkin to bed yet it was after bedtime when Nkechi used to get most of her writing done. 

I know that the fluidity of taking care of the house and kids has helped Nkechi and I as partners because we are better able to communicate about what we're seeing with the kids.  My goal is that as Nkechi continues to become the next Gina Prince-Bythewood, she'll continue to have confidence that she won't come home to a burned down house with the kids and I standing across the street in our pajamas because I started a grease fire making turkey burgers.  On the flipside, Nkechi continues to be my biggest cheerleader, supporter and PR agent.  Her encouragement has lead me finally finish a book on marriage I started three years ago as well as produce a companion man-ologue show.  I'm excited to see both come to fruition.  What I have come to understand is that the more we root for each other to grow, the closer we become becasue that rooting makes you an active participant in your partner's development, not simply a bystander.  We make a point to constantly check-in because the winds of change are always blowing, and it's important to understand where your partner is trying to go.

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a number of my friends and mentors for my book Married to the Franchise.  One of the themes that arose early on when it came to understanding why these dudes continue to have successful marriages is that there is no part of their marriages that they don't want to be involved in.  Bringing home a paycheck is just as important as raising the kids which is as important as maintaining a fulfilling relationship with their wives.  The tricky part is not to lose sight of any one part for the sake of another.  Here's to another year of keeping my eye on the prize.