Life with a third-shifter: Cherish time spent together

Life with a third-shifter: Cherish time spent together

When it's fully dark, my wife starts to wake up and rise from her bed for the graveyard shift. She may have a bite to eat. Unlike vampires, there will be plenty of garlic. She puts garlic in almost anything.

Hours later, Margarita is back in time for us to have breakfast.

She tries to be up at dinner time, but can't always. As a nurse, she sometimes works double shifts. She usually starts at 10 p.m. but often goes in earlier as needed.

On Rita's days off, we cram in as many things as we can, to make up for the days we hardly see each other.

She's a workaholic, so on those days we barely see each I still see signs of her activity, like the invisible watchmaker of theology.

The front yard has new flowers, or there's a rice pilaf on top of the stove. Sometimes she leaves me a drawing on the refrigerator.

Upon leaving, Rita usually has to comfort our needy dog, Boots. And settle him down when she comes home. The dog goes crazy with joy when we're both there to pet him.

Margarita has worked odd shifts all her life, starting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It doesn't bother her. Biorhythms don't seem to apply.

She says she can sleep through anything. I have found that to be true when I serve as her alarm clock after long shifts. Shaking can accompany yelling. I've never had to resort to an ice bucket.

And then sometimes she can't sleep no matter how tired she is. When that happens, she's often in a time when she can call our family in central Asia. If she worked days, they'd be dead asleep when she called them.

I've got to say, there are nice things about her shifts. Sometimes she surprises me with some time off when I didn't expect it. A nice little gift of time.

When she works long shifts, time together is precious. We never run out of anything to talk about, this or that new project or how our grandkids are doing or her current favorite, the old "Terminator" TV series about Sarah and John Connor.

I look around sometimes in restaurants and see couples our age ignoring each other. One reads a newspaper; another is talking on the cell phone in a booming voice about medical issues.

Or they're just sitting there, silent, with nothing to say to each other.

I'm glad that we value the time we spend together.

— PAUL WOOD

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