Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Fitbit. A marriage.

A few weeks ago, after the mad morning rush to shower/dress/Curious George/nurse/boots/coats/don’t forget the bottles/get Matt and the girls out the door and on their way, I breathed my ritual sigh of halfhearted relief and ran upstairs to dab some concealer over… this. Whatever this is now.




And, on the back of the toilet, in the little dish where we keep small, transient objects -- eyeglasses worn between 6:10 and 6:15 a.m., earrings, etc., there lay Matt’s wedding band, twinkling beneath harsh bathroom lights. He takes his ring and his Fitbit off to shower. And, apparently, in the race to get out the door, he had time to put one back on. A Sophie’s Choice within his morning routine. He chose poorly.



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Matt loves his Fitbit more than air and water and now, as evidenced by this recent decision, he could possibly love it more than me. 

My husband’s passionate affair with his step-counting man bracelet began about 6 months ago, when the dust churned up by Grace’s arrival had finally begun to settle. I was returning to work, and we were both returning to reality, sort of. It was at this time that we made a series of realizations -- having two kids is hard. Sleep is… what? And both of us had gained some baby weight. 

And while I decided to put any major self-improvement projects on hold (see: resolutions), Matt dove in, in True Matt Fashion™, head first. He ordered his Fitbit, slapped it on his wrist, and began to walk. And walk. And walk. And walk. He walked over his lunch hour, he got out his brightest headlamp and walked at night. When the weather began to turn cold, he ordered a not-at-all-creepy face mask and walked straight into the biting wind. 

I didn’t get it.
I studied his dedication with befuddled awe. I read David Sedaris’s New Yorker piece about his Fitbit obsession. In both cases, I was entertained but not necessarily enlightened. 

But I wanted to get it.
What is this “self-discipline” you speak of? I’m a creature motivated by snacks and impulse. In many ways, I am my three-year-old daughter… when she was two years old. 

So I got one.
The chaotic tapestry of kids and everyday life can become so thickly woven and crumb-caked that it’s easy to lose site of the threads that held you together in the first place. Lately, Matt and I have struggled to find commonalities outside of the living-life ones. The kid ones. The you-do-the-dishes-and-I’ll-run-the-bathwater ones. It’s hard to talk about the books you’re reading when one of you… ahem… never reads anymore. So when I expressed interest in getting my own Fitbit, it was game on. I mentioned it in passing, and two days later, it was on my wrist. 

Just kidding. It was in a box on the kitchen counter. 

And then two days after that, it was on my wrist. The ensuing weeks involved a lot of trial and error and Fitbit education. Apparently, it doesn’t count my steps if I’m holding the baby in my right arm. Or if I’m pushing a stroller or grocery cart. Or if I’m not walking. What a load of garbage. 

Despite my best efforts to take the stairs at work, to swing my arm like an angry chimp while I push the stroller with the other, to take the long way whenever possible, the truth is, most days end with only a few blinking dots -- little white harbingers of guilt. I’ve only reached 10,000 steps once, which is apparently the bare minimum you’re supposed to reach each day in order to qualify as a Living, Breathing Human Being. 

I obviously have a ways to go. But I will say, I’m motivated. And finally, I get it. I get the appeal of having a carrot dangled in front of you each morning, encouraging you to walk a little further, to move a little faster, to try harder than you did the day before. I’m genuinely grateful for the chance to understand Matt in a new way. Because we should never be done trying to figure out what makes the people we love tick. Or walk, as the case may be. 

Finally, I’m looking forward to tomorrow and all of the steps that it holds. 

But it’s late. So for tonight, my Fitbit will retire to its vacation home among the bobbypins -- the little dish on the back of the toilet.