Scene: Children and their mother sitting at the dinner table waiting for father to bring the dinner he has created from the kitchen. The cat plays happily under a nearby press. Mother notices that the cat is playing with a dead bird.
Mother and three children: Scream, dead bird, scream.
Father emerging from kitchen, grumpily, hands covered in breading: What?
Mother and children scream: The cat has a bird, the cat has a bird.
Father sighs, goes into the kitchen, washes hands, picks up a plastic bag, separates very peeved cat from the dead baby bird under the press and carries the bird to the bin. Then he washes his hands again and finishes making our dinner. You should know that it was not the father who insisted that the cat be added to the household.
Me: Michaela said she would never read a book by a nobel prize winner again after struggling through “The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.”
Him: Who’s Michaela?
Me: Remember the Swedish girl from the book club?
Him: Was she the giraffe? [A reference to a particularly tall but fortunately beautiful girl, also in the book club.]
Me: No, no, you must remember her, she’s the most beautiful girl I ever met. She looks like Michelle Pfeiffer.
Him: Nope, can’t remember her at all.
Me: Mr. Waffle has received a sum of money for his labours and I am afraid that he will spend it on unnecessary things.
Friend: Like clothes? No, no, I wouldn’t mind, if he spent it on something nice for himself, no I mean things we don’t really need.
Friend: Like what?
Me: Well, he really wants to buy a saw but I feel he’s already chopped down six trees with the old saw and there are only two trees to go.
Friend: He cuts down your trees?
Me: Well, yes.
Friend: I’d love a husband who cut down trees. What else did he spend the money on?
Me: He bought the children’s school books.
Friend: Really, that’s frivolous? I thought they had to have school books.
Me: Well yes, but, you know, not until September. He could have spent the money on going up in a hot air balloon now or something exciting.
Friend: Anne, buy the man a saw.
Sometimes, you need friends to point out to you things you can’t quite see yourself. Tell me about your virtuous husbands.
We live an hour away from the airport (when we’re in Oregon). I had a very early morning flight to Mexico. I could have woken up at 3am and driven to the airport car park, waited in the dark for the shuttle, and dragged myself into the terminal. Instead, he took me for dinner to a favorite restaurant the night before the flight and booked us a room in the city. The next morning, he drove me to the terminal and as if that wasn’t virtuous enough, he carried my bags all the way to the check-in counter – and it wasn’t even 6am yet. Then he drove an hour and went to the office.
I think he deserves a saw.
My 20 month old will not stop breast feeding. I realize there’s something inherently wrong with that statement, as it is I who continue to actually do the breast feeding. The point is, we’re having a hard time with weaning, and I’m desperate. So my husband volunteered to start putting her to bed every night, suffering through her heart-rending cries for mommy. But what’s really virtuous is that he also volunteered to get up with her for any night wakings, suffering through heart-rending cries for mommy multiplied by semi-consciousness on both sides. Now there’s a good husband!
By the way, it is working. . .at least for the night time. She happily cuddles up with him to read books at bedtime, and she is not waking up every night anymore. Baby steps!
I thought about this for quite a while, trying to think of an example that was interesting or especially significant but couldn’t think of one. It occurs to me that there are so many small things which are done to help me (bringing the washing in, putting the rabbits away, watering the veg patch, making a cup of tea etc) that we pretty much dovetail together nicely, each doing helpful bits for each other. I’m not sentimental, and this statement is almost too mawkish for me but it s true. It has taken us a long time to get to this level of dovetailing comfort but it has certainly been worth all the time and effort.
Truly, aren’t husbands terrific? Isn’t it just great being married to the same person for ages? Doesn’t the thought of starting all over again scare the bejaysus out of you? How did Elizabeth Taylor do it?