Monday, January 28, 2013


Whatever anybody says extended family members affect couples lives. When we were married my youngest brothers were only 5 years old. We lived fairly close to my family, and we would often watch them when my parents traveled. He loved to rough-house with the boys, and I think their upbringing would have been much more sedate if He had not been in the picture.

He spent a lot of time with them. If He had a Saturday free, He would often take them on adventures. I used to think He mostly offered my brothers a testosterone outlet. I am sure they never discussed literature, culture, or philosophy while together (my dad took care of that pretty well). In fact He is not what you would call a conversationalist. He has to have something to say to bother with a discussion. Since He is part of their earliest memories, they are as much brothers, as I am their sister. They spent less time at our house as they grew older, but He maintained a constant presence in the lives of my brothers.

My brothers grew up and left home. After they were on their own, He received a letter from one of them. In it he expressed heartfelt appreciation for all He had done for him and told Him what a great example He was to him. What touched me most about the letter was that he said out of all the people in his life, He taught him what integrity was. I don't remember my brother's words exactly, but they had a powerful impact on me. Sometimes I think He is a little rough around the edges (and I like that about Him). I realized maybe I hadn't given Him credit for impacting their lives in a more principled way. Virtue (as defined by the ancient Greeks), comes in all shapes and sizes, even with a five o'clock shadow.

He set an example... more reason I love Him.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I understand how someone can slide into a life. Events happen, you make choices specific to the time, and the choices accumulate until you find yourself in a life. That's not what happened to me. I think I represent the first female generation to feel that we were completely free to choose whether to have a career outside or inside our home while raising a family. As a young woman I had aspirations for a successful and fulfilling career (one where a lot of travel is required), urban living, (where no yard existed), and a family (whose purpose was to compliment my achievements). However, when I found that I was pregnant (after purposely trying), I had an overwhelming desire to be home full time with my baby. It was a choice, and I approached it as a career option.

I'm not sure how He really felt about that-but He said He wanted me to do what I wanted to do. He had not found His career yet, but before the baby came He found a job that would support our little family (He also kept the part time job that got Him through college). As our family grew He changed jobs hoping to get ahead. He also added another part time job. Meanwhile, I was carving out a career as a homemaker. I meticulously planned homemaking and mothering goals. I am good at my job, and it has given me both satisfaction and fulfillment.

What began as His "just for now" has evolved into two full-time jobs. He works hard to support our family. That sounds trite. It fails to express how I feel about the words "hard" and "support". My children and I are housed, clothed, warm, fed, comfortable, and safe. We may not  have everything we want, but we have everything we need. While I chose my career, He really did not. Of course He made His choices, and He could have made ones that would have sent Him on a different career path. However, He made his choices based on what He believed would take the best care of His family at the time. Those choices have resulted in what has become a life of long days, missing out on children's milestones, working holidays, and fantasizing about napping. And I think He would do it again.

He works for us... more reason I love Him.       

Monday, January 14, 2013


It's self evident that creating a baby requires two people. However, after delivery it feels like the effort of birthing said baby is a one person project. I assume that I am not alone when I say that those on the female side of the equation sometimes have a somewhat self-satisfied feeling of superiority, as it pertains to feeling that you alone sacrificed the most towards the gestation and birthing processes. In fact, I wonder if while we are wallowing in our maternal fecundity we realize that our paternal collaborator is feeling a little...irrelevant.

Although I was exhausted after giving birth, I knew that I had accomplished something profound. I would not assume to say how He felt. I only know what He did.

After everyone was cleaned up, after all our family had left, after we asked the nurse to leave our new little miracle in my room for the night, and after she was changed and fed, He climbed in the hospital bed beside me. He felt part of our little production and He wasn't going home to sleep in our big comfy, quiet bed. Instead He slept beside me, on about 12" of mattress, on top of the covers, with a bar in his back, and not moving so as not to disturb me (this alone qualifies Him for man of the year). He did not want to be an adjunct. He intended to be a part of the whole.

He slept beside me... more reason I love him.  

Monday, January 7, 2013


I gained a substantial amount of weight during pregnancy. Not an unhealthy amount, but more than average. My beginning point was probably a little under the average weight, and it came off within a year, so I believed my obstetrician when he said it was "healthy". I didn't even look pregnant until I was 20 weeks, then I gained it steady and fast.

I'm long waisted, so that probably accounted for not showing soon. However, it also meant I carried the baby really low. This made sleeping very uncomfortable. I could not lie comfortably on my back. I tried to sleep on my side, but my leg placed too much pressure on my pelvis. Before I was with child I would often snuggle up against Him and lay my leg across His, wrapping myself around Him. He encouraged this cuddling position, and during pregnancy I continued to sleep like this as it was the only way I could get any rest.

He is usually a stomach sleeper, but He need to remain on His back in order for His leg to be high enough to offer my pregnant thigh a comfortable perch. We slept like this through four pregnancies. It wasn't until many years after our last child was born that I heard Him commiserating with another father about how unnaturally heavy a pregnant leg was. This was the first time I ever heard Him mention that He had not been an eager participant as my pregnant leg rest. I'm not going to quibble about the "He has no right to even mention His discomfort after what I had to endure". The truth is: He was uncomfortable-for an extended period of time-and through multiple pregnancies; He never made me feel like my "maternity" thigh was any different than my "normal" thigh (until of course after the fact); and He never complained. He knew I was uncomfortable and He tried to ease my burden without turning it into one of His.

He propped my leg... more reason I love Him