I found this old journal entry today. It says a lot about how I’ve managed to stay married for so long.
What girl has not dreamt of one day meeting the perfect man, the one especially created for you, the husband with whom you will live happily ever after.
I was no different from any other girl. I wanted a Good-Morning-I-love-you-Honey Rockwellian life. Instead I got a husband whose most affectionate term of endearment is “Yo.” Yes, I got myself a man who uses a variation of the dog whistle to get my attention in public; who takes hours to teach our children the art of burping the alphabet; who scratches himself in inappropriate places at inappropriate times. And I am latched to him for the rest of my life in spite of his crass jokes and well-bitten finger nails that grate me like chalk on a writing board.
At night I close my eyes shut while he snorts in my ears and straddles his heavy leg around my waist—and I dream of a Good-Morning-I-Love-you-Honey life that passed me by. And it takes a day like today to realize just how lucky I am.
Well actually it started yesterday. The house was a big mess and needed a thorough cleaning. My mother-in-law was coming to spend a couple of days with us. I was too tired to do much. My back was sore. By 9 pm I could do no more. And the house was still a mess. That’s when he stepped in and cleaned and cleaned to the music of the Fifth Dimension, the Bee Gees, and several others. He whistled, he sang along, cracking a few of his prized off-colored jokes in between. Never complained, never threw a fit. Never said, “What’s this doing here?” or “If only everybody would put things back where they belong!” or any of the other stuff I often say when I clean. He went on till one in the morning. When I woke at 6 today, he was already up putting on some final touches.
I took his nail-bitten hands and kissed them. Life has not passed me by after all. It’s there—all of it. I just have to read between the lines.