I have the best husband. He rarely watches sport on tv (maybe 4-5 times a year, tops), he cooks fabulous meals — not just barbecue. I have to say though, he rocks the grill: succulent chicken and juicy, mouth-watering steaks. He openly admits to not being great with cars, but will read up how to fix something online and do it perfectly. He cleans (remember, he’s a microbiologist? It’s really rather very handy), he doesn’t hunt (although I admit it can be handy), he offers foot rubs, back massages and warms my feet in bed; he lifts me up: spiritually and emotionally; he bathes, sings and reads to the boys when he sees I’ve had a hard day. And from the moment I met him, he gives the best hugs.
He left late Saturday afternoon to go miles south of here for an overnight campout with the Scouts. Like most married people of the womanly persuasion out there, I don’t do very well when he is gone — even if he just pops out for 10 minutes to go pick something up quick from the local rip-off merchants convenience store past the 4-way stop: the only form of traffic control in this aptly-named village of 700.
Ever since we started dating, oh, nine years ago, I felt the luckiest woman alive. I didn’t have to settle for a quirk or trait that made me uneasy or I showed disdain for. He was perfect. For me. And with that, I have always had this underlying fear that I will lose it all.
Way back when, he used drive 2 hours from University to work every day and then an hour home. I’d especially worry when the winter months hit. He made it half-way to work one day, phoned his boss and came home early. I was surprised and delighted to see him. With that type of schedule, he’d leave at 7 a.m. and I wouldn’t see him again until 10 that night.
Then he told me what happened, and my fears were justified.
A few cars were at the side of the road, parked at the median having hit black ice. He slowed down as a precaution and ultimately stopped to offer any assistance. Nine years ago, it’s weird to think that mobile phones weren’t as prevalent, but it’s true. He offered his phone to a few who needed it.
Suddenly, there was a noise that stopped time.
He looked up to see a car barrelling towards him at highway speed and quickly vaulted over the concrete median. Seconds later, the car spun in undulating circles and smashed into the spot where he had been standing just moments earlier.
I have had a mantra since we’re been married: Tell him you love him every day. Tell him you love him every day like you’ve never said it before. Appreciate each day as it comes. Appreciate it with a warm, encompassing embrace.
When he returned home yesterday just after noon — and in theory only 20 hours later — it felt like months. We have been separated before, the longest being 3½ weeks, almost 4 when he came to Montana to start his new job, and I stayed behind to sell the house with a 2-year-old and 20 weeks pregnant. It was rough, but we did it.
Yesterday felt worse than that. The house was unanchored and quiet — even with the boys, and I felt lost and sullen. Even worse, I dreaded going to bed and going to sleep. To spite the bed, I lay facing the window instead of the empty mattress. It was horrid.
On his return, I embraced him and clung tight, as tight as a sea urchin. And, in retrospect, the evening was magical. But not like that. OK, like that. But, he bathed the boys, did the whole night routine alone and tucked them safely in bed. I grabbed a DVD we’ve had waiting for a few days and sneaked it into the player. I had never seen it. All I knew was, it was good.
Two words: The Notebook.
I have never openly sobbed so much at a film. It touched so many truths in my mind and spoke to my heart. I lay nestled on his chest for its entirety. After I retrieved it from the player, we stood and embraced each other for ever, crying.
“Promise me. Promise me you’ll come visit me when I’m old. Don’t leave me alone. And if I [get Parkinson’s really bad], promise you’ll come get me.”
I have the best husband.