the indispensable spouse

IMG_0349[1]114101There’s nothing quite like recognizing the benefits of my husband, especially when he’s away. So easy to take him for granted when he’s here. Bedtime hour is quieter: for me, anyway. He’ll bring them to bed, read a few stories (or improvise, much to the annoyance of our children). He’ll sing his lullabies…”You load sixteen tonnes and what do you get? another day older and deeper in debt”….and Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler”…”On a warm summer’s evenin’, on a train bound for nowhere”… They get the traditional stuff from me.

He’s another sheriff to manage disputes…and if he’s managing just two a day, it’s decompressing for me. There’s someone’s shoulder to cry on after a hard day. He’s just as enamoured with their funny stories, vignettes of accomplishment and cute quirkiness as I am. And he’s there to care for them when I just need to get away.

I give him relatively practical gifts for Christmas: an article of clothing, a book, maybe a new grooming product. He, on the other hand, packages an envelope with twelve cards, requiring me to open one an hour, all hints to reveal his gift. In the end, we’re heading to a warm-weather American boutique hotel for a few days getaway, just him and I. He knows when I need a break. These are unique moments, ones building our relationship, so that long after the kiddos have left home, he and I have posted stories to our book of memories. They are also invigorating times of connection, reminding us who we are and what we’re all about apart from our role as parents.

It’s the Wednesday afternoons, though, that routinely provide me reprieve. A girl has got to have some time to do her thing, alone. Shopping, coffee shop and  laptop for an afternoon of writing, or just getting to the gym. His willingness to take over helps maintain my balance, and ignites my affection…occasional bouquets of flowers are romantic, but nothing quite as romantic as a willing and helpful husband.

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This Wednesday afternoon a week is his time to instill what’s important to his kiddos too. It’s the most unschooled afternoon in our study months. He’ll read them something from Usborne World War II book and share details that he’s learned in his years of reading about it. He’ll detail anatomy and physiology with previous patient scenarios to his mini medical students. He’ll talk politics, current events, world economy…you know, the light and fluffy subject matter. He can be found teaching chess strategies, cribbage or poker, tossing a ball or watching Weird Al YouTube stuff.

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I won’t casually wish him a Happy Father’s Day when he’s home Sunday, because he’s a stalwart presence in my healthy and happy state of mind. I’ll declare to the world instead, You, my love, are indispensable!