In today's world of integrated and renovated families, the stay-at-homer is a dad, a grandparent, an aunt, a foster parent, a well-trained gorilla. And all of them have a supporting character(s) (or they should!) who helps them do what they need to do. In our house we do it ’50s-style. I'm the momma and I'm at home; the hubby goes out and hunts down our income, then drags it home over his shoulder. I get dinner on the table each night in time for the hubby's return from white-collar damnation ("Pizza Hut? Can I order a large cheese pizza? Yes, that's for delivery. Wait, what kind of dessert do you have?"). And I mostly clean the house, you know, on alternate weeks when the maids don't come. And I help to educate the children ("We prefer 'pass gas,' dear. Don't say 'fart.'"). It's grueling, mostly. But it's the kind of gruel I want in my life and, loving spouse, I couldn't do it without you. So, in honor of my hubby—income-earner, dad, guy who takes the dogs to the vet when they have tummy issues—here's a list of his greatest hits in honor of our ninth anniversary.
- My husband brought me flowers on the day that I made the very difficult decision to go see a shrink about mild depression. That’s the sweetest way anyone’s ever said “I love you even if you are crazy.”
- Back when we were dating, my husband stole a cotton plant from the edge of a field to bring home to me because it was neat. Certainly the farmer would not have approved, and they carry shotguns, don't they? Also, he'd been in the car with a colleague at the time and had to ask the man to pull over in order to hijack the plant. He’s daring and unafraid to embarrass himself in the name of love. Romantic, no? I still have the cotton.
- My husband would not cut the umbilical cords when our children were born; it creeped him out. But, he sent me home to New Jersey for a weekend to myself while he stayed with the mini tyrants. I think that's waaaay scarier than a rubbery umbilicus.
- On our honeymoon a man made me cry because he was a big fat meanie (BFM). My hubby wasn't present for the event, but when he came back to the beach with our frosty adult beverages, he saw me crying and I blabbed the whole sorry tale. The BFM was absent the beach at the time of hubby’s return, so, hubby comforted me while I lathered him up with SPF 1,000. Halfway through the lathering the BFM returned. My 6'4" husband, half covered in white gook, jumped up and stalked over to BFM and told him to never speak to me that way again, and that if he had something rude he wanted to share with me, he'd have to say it to Mr. Tall and Slippery first. This marks the first time any man had defended my honor. And the last time one would do so while dripping Coppertone.
- My hubby bought me diamond earrings for my 30th birthday. Just sayin’.
- My husband doesn’t call me names when he’s angry. He fights fair and stays on topic during disagreements. Oh, we've fought, sure, but he's just a good guy about it. I’m the hateful mud slinger.
That's my guy. He doesn't often bring home flowers, but he knows how I like my coffee. He works long, hard hours and frequently has had to travel at inopportune times. But when he's home with us, he's present. I'm sure we'd go back and do a few things differently, if we could, but we'd do them together. And his handling of all of this time away and hard work and mowing the lawn and dealing with contractors and signing mortgages and squashing big bugs in the kitchen and taking the kids out for dinner while I stay home to recoup and helping me through my nutty ups-and-downs are the stuff that makes it possible for me to be home with our children, protecting them from the ills of society and teaching them what it means to be a family: mutual sacrifice plus laughter. Thanks, babe. You're worth more to me than chocolate and I like you better than Matt Damon.
. . .
But we still have our agreement about Matt Damon, right? If I ever get my shot . . . never mind. Happy Anniversary!