My 12-year-old daughter and her friend are in the back seat talking about their futures. About husbands.
The rush-hour traffic is fierce, but I’m straining to hear.
The friend says, “I’m going to be a scientist. I’m going to have a big house and one horse and one kid.”
My daughter says, “Nice. I’m going to be a photographer. But what about a husband?”
The friend (whose parents’ marital situation is stranger than fiction) says, “No husband. I’m going to adopt. Who needs a husband around the house? Seems like it would just be easier.”
I’ve been thinking about this all weekend.
I have a husband, but he’s not around the house. Once upon a time he worked at home, and boy, was he ever around the house. And then he moved away because it was the only way to support his family. That’s the kind of husband he is.
Today I notice things he’s not here to do. Sidewalk shoveling. Decoration-box hauling. Furniture moving. Christmas tree putting up. Car gas tank filling, running-toilet-fixing, doggie-poo scooping. Being the heavy with an almost-teenager.
Since he’s been gone, I’ve missed him and not missed him. I wake up with an emptiness inside that’s tied to his silent office downstairs. I feel sad, remember that this was the best choice for our family, then get up and feel grateful for the freedoms this change has brought to me—freedoms I could not exercise with another adult working in the house.
One day when SeeSpotRun was four, I captured her on the couch and wrapped her in a bear hug. I held her close to me until she yelped “Help! Help! I’m trapped in a jail of love!”
Girls, if I told you something true, would you listen? The you who wants to be free and the you who wants to be joined are going to lock horns forever.
Marriage? Husband? Children? They’re traps…in a jail of love.
SSR and Sallymandy in Death Valley National Park, November 2009.