Monday, March 25, 2013


Spring is coming. In our climate zone spring lasts for such a short time (we have a loooong winter and a loooong summer, but spring and fall seem like just a spit in the wind). Bright green blades are beginning to shoot up amid the brown drab, hibernated grass left by winter storms. Tulip and daffodil bulbs are starting to peek through the soil. I love spring. It brings a much needed glimmer of hope after a long cold, dark winter. However, spring also means yard work (which I don't love). I don't necessarily mind it, and I do it, but it takes an enormous amount of time and effort. My dream is to wake every morning to an immaculately manicured yard brimming profusely with flowers (with no effort on my part).

He loves spring. He also loves yard work. He can't wait for the first semi-seasonal day so He can brush the dirt off those little green shoots. It is all very exciting and hopeful in the first flush of new bloom; digging in soft dirt, planting annuals, pruning old wood off the flowering trees. We get out the planter boxes and fill them with a new color combination of flowers, retrieve the patio furniture from the shed and sweep it free of cobwebs, and tidy up all the flower beds. Finally, when the yard is freshly groomed, we are ready to spend the summer relaxing on the patio. Hmmmmm. That is my fantasy. Reality is much harsher than that.

After the flush of spring has worn off, summer looms long ahead. The hot, scorching dog days of summer, when the last thing anyone wants to do is yard work seem endless. Grudgingly I force myself up unnaturally early to avoid the heat of the day, and weed those flower beds that mock me. By mid July I hate my yard and I completely understand the attraction of condominiums. I know it is semantics, but for me gardening and weeding shouldn't go together. The first implies industry, the second drudgery. Just when I think I am sincerely going to weep while contemplating weeding one more blazing day, He takes it over. He says it is therapeutic, pulling, eradicating, and annihilating those persistent weeds. As summer reaches its nastiest temperatures He can be found on weekends, early in the morning, mid afternoon, and even into the evening still at it. My energizer bunny of yard word. I fade out, as He keeps going.

He weeds... more reason I love Him.

Monday, March 18, 2013


I admit that He worries about things that I do not. Parents spend a lot of time worrying. Between the fear of monstrous, unnamed disease epidemics to "normal" development, it seems like worrying fills the majority of "down" parenting time (by this I mean the time not physically caring for them). With quite a few years under our belts in this department it has become clear that the worries that preoccupy us are categorically divided. I don't know if our division of parental worrying represent the average couple or not. However, we both feel that our worries are the greater ones (the ones that really matter).

We like to camp, usually in the mountains near our home. We have a tent trailer that offers more convenience with small children. We planned a camping trip one summer by a lake a few hours drive from home. As we set up camp right above the shore line, I worried the whole time about children wandering too close to the water. I felt like I was on guard the whole time. It was not relaxing. In fact, the only time I felt at ease was at night when we were tucked inside for the evening. On the last night of our adventure a light rain had started as we were finishing dinner. We sent the kids inside the tent trailer while we cleaned up. The rain steadily increased as we prepared for bed. As it was still fairly early, I read aloud the book that I had brought. It was The Watsons go to Birmingham (we were still in the first half of the book and it kept the kids and husband laughing, and kept their minds off the rain pelting the aluminum roof). All the while a little storm was brewing outside. Finally we settled down to sleep. I fell asleep to the soothing sounds of rain drops. Apparently I slept like a log.

He however, WORRIED the whole night long. According to Him, while His wife and children were somewhere in dreamland, He was manning the helm during the storm of a lifetime. I cannot corroborate any of this, but the trailer was on the verge of lifting off (heading toward the Emerald City no doubt). The tent base was rocking, the springs were groaning, the tarps were flapping, all as the water was rising around us. Meanwhile slumber enveloped my maternal concerns. In the morning, as He recounted the near demise of our family the night before, I laughed at His seemingly serious tone. How could I have slept through such a perilous storm while my children's lives hung in the balance? According to Him, how can I sleep so soundly during any and every storm we ever encounter? Because He watches out for danger in the night. He worries for the both of us.

He mans the helm... more reason I love Him.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I'm not one that believes fairy tales are to blame for women's unrealistic expectations of romance. I'm not even sure it is lead by pop culture. Rather, it may be that those things are driven by some biological/physiological quest for endorphins. Maybe the need to feel good precedes the expectations. Either way, I have been disappointed when He failed at romantic gestures. It was usually tied to a major event: birthday, anniversary, valentines day etc. My hopes would be high- and then the ordinary. Not that He completely failed; there were flowers, or chocolates, or dinner etc. These are all very appreciated because they show thought and effort. He has, however, surprised me.

I had the flu. The real flu. I was sick, sick, sick. It was winter. Not the pretty December winter with new white snow, but the tail end of January winter that is dingy and bleak. It was Saturday morning and I had been in bed for days. I was just beginning to feel like I was rejoining the living when He came into the bedroom that afternoon and went to the bedroom window. Fresh snow had fallen in the night and the sun had popped out of the dismal sky. He called me over to the window to see how pretty it was. In the pasture behind our yard He had written in the snow "I Love You" in 6' tall letters. I smiled, inside and out. I imagined Him trudging through the shin deep snow, hopping to begin the next letter so as not to make a mark where it shouldn't be.

It was romantic because it was so unexpected. It didn't cost anything, but it took some thought and effort. Isn't this what a "grand" gesture is, unexpected, surprising, and out of the ordinary? It was a very simple thing to do, and yet it made me feel loved. Truly loved. Because of it I began to notice small, previously unrecognized gestures of love. Big, expensive, and contrived can be great and I like that too, but if I had to choose between the two I would choose the simple, unassuming expression of love. Even though it was covered up by new snow, trampled, and then melted, I can still see it every time I look out the window. That is my fairy tale.

He wrote... more reason I love Him.

Monday, March 4, 2013


He likes His kids. I like my kids. However, as a full time homemaker with a husband who has two jobs, I had approximately 90% more face to face time with our children than He did. It goes with out saying (although obviously I am going to say it), that all that quality time I spent with the kids left me frazzled sometimes. At the time I felt that I was part of the sisterhood of single mothers. I put the kids to bed alone, got them up alone, went to their activities alone, wrestled with bath time alone, wrestled with illness alone, and so much more. Often I commiserated with the tales of woe from single mothers I knew. In hind sight, I realize that they must have been thinking I was cracked. Because in reality I was not alone. I knew that despite His physical absence I had His support. In many ways. I knew that I was not alone. I knew that I had a back-up.

I joke that its good I didn't have a cell phone when our kids were little, or He would have been inundated with sos messages all day long (its so easy to text your frustration-it offers a kind of release). Needless to say, the lack of instant messaging allowed my frustrations to build up on significantly stressful days. There were days (to my credit not many), when He walked in the door, was handed a child, and then watch me walk out the same door He had just come in. He didn't complain. He probably felt a little guilty that He wasn't there more. However, His reactions to my pleas for relief are only 10% of the story.

Usually when He got home from work He would immediately offer Himself as the children's distraction. (Of course this is after He changed His clothes, or washed His hands, or whatever He needed to do.) Looking back, I now see that I didn't even know if He had had a bad day, was tired, worried, stressed, or dealing with a myriad of other personal issues. He got down on the floor and let the kids climb on Him. He took them outside and kept them busy. He entertained them while I had a "moment". Its not that I don't think parenting should be equal, but I doubt it rarely is. Given a little perspective I realize that He may have anticipated that coming home from work would be a refuge, a place of rest for the weary, and a balm for the soul. But often what he found was a stopped up disposal and a broken sprinkler head. He could also smell the faint fumes of maternal exasperation and frustration. Did He know I was counting down the minutes to when I could hear His car door shut anticipating His answer to my sos?

He rescued... more reason I love Him.