Posted by: chlost | September 26, 2010

Ode to my husband

WARNING: This post will give you more information about me than you may want to know..

Many people use a blog to complain about their spouses. Lots of jokes, a few outright stabs at the guy that they are with. I’ve even taken a few swipes now and then.

But here’s the thing- My husband is a great guy. He’s been there for me.

He works very hard at a physically challenging job. He has a college degree, but is not an office type of guy. He likes to be able to move around, get his hands dirty. He works at a farm facility in a big city. As he says, it allows him to be a farmer without all of the risk, with paid holidays and vacations. He is a farmer at heart, and a cautious man by nature.

The point is, he works hard. I, on the other hand, do not.

As I sit here at the computer, he is working. On a Sunday. He will finish work and go to his aunt’s house and continue to go through her belongings and deal with the emotions of her death as well as his parents’ and grandparents’ deaths. He also has to deal with his brother, which is emotionally and physically draining in and of itself.

 He has worked ever since he was 14 years old. He started out with a very large paper route, getting up every morning at 4 am to deliver newspapers with his father along a route so long that it required a car to get it done. As he had no driver’s license, his dad drove the route with him. He has worked almost every day of his life since then.

He supported me as I continued my education. In the early 1980’s when women were just starting to try to have it all, I worked full time and went to law school in the evenings. We had our first child when I was starting my second year. He worked all day, parented all night, all by himself. This was at a time when it was quite rare for a dad to be so involved with their older children, let alone an infant.

We had our daughter just as I finished taking my bar exam. We always thought I would have a good job, and make decent money as a lawyer. He joked that I would be able to support him in the lifestyle he wished to become accustomed to.

It didn’t work out that way.

Despite having good grades and winning awards through law school, the early 80’s was a tough time to find a job, even for lawyers, especially brand new female lawyers with young children at home. I actually worked as a clerk at a retail store after having become a lawyer. Not quite minimum wage, but scarily close. The advantage was that we didn’t have to have  daycare, as he could be with the kids while I worked.  Again, he worked all day and came home to be a dad each evening by himself.

To say that we were poor is a bit of an exaggeration, but we were struggling. School loans expected to be repaid, and new babies are not inexpensive. To complicate it all , we had a surprise third child. I have felt quite guilty that we did not exactly cheer when we got the news of his arrival.

My husband never complained about the life that we lived. We rarely had time to ourselves. He found ways to spend time with the kids that did not cost much money. I found a full time job with a corporation in a temporary position, not as a lawyer. I hoped to be able to be hired as a lawyer with them as a position became available. It did not.

We moved to a smaller town about a 1 1/2 hour drive from where we currently were living when I finally found a job as an attorney. He continued to make that commute daily for 3 years. When that job bit the dust (my paychecks started to bounce) I found a position much nearer to his work in a small town outside the metro area.  It was a small office which never paid much. But it lasted 3 years until the partners split up, neither of them continuing to practice law. I started my own practice.

It was quite a struggle. We borrowed money to allow me to get started. My office was located in the small town where we lived, my husband now commuted one hour to work. He continued to work full time and did coaching for the kids’ activities. When they became interested in theater, he starting working on the theater’s sets, doing carpentry work and teaching the kids how to do it as well.  He never complained about having to work full time and parent.

My practice has had to be scaled back in the past few years, primarily due to my bad business sense in continuing to represent people I felt sorry for who didn’t pay their bills. I have also had some health problems. I now work for the state as a “part-time” attorney, officing from my home. It is not a job that pays much, especially for a lawyer. But I have enjoyed working with kids. Even though the work is actually full time, I am paid only part time. As you know if you read this blog often, I am hoping for a change. But for now, I am pretty well stuck.

The point of all of this is, that we have never made much money. Certainly not what my husband had expected as he struggled to get me through school.  He deserved to have more, and has struggled with us not having more financial stability. Any money that we did have over the years, I have used to help our kids when we could.

But he’s been there. For me. For the kids. He’s stood behind me every step of the way. He comes home from work now and makes dinner for us. He cleans the house on his weekends off. He takes care of the yard. Above and beyond. And he doesn’t judge me. He doesn’t complain that I am not doing enough. He is mad that I am not being appreciated for what I do at work. He’s in my corner.

If I’m feeling overwhelmed, he just takes things over, doing what needs to be done. He doesn’t comment about what I have not done during the day. He asks how I am.

It’s been 31 years of marriage in a month, 34 years that we’ve been together. It hasn’t been quite what either one of us expected as we got ourselves into this life together.

But we have the important stuff. Three absolutely spectacular kids. Two, and soon three, beautiful grandchildren.

And I am lucky enough to have him.    He’s stuck it out with me through it all.

What kind of anniversary gift can I find for a guy like that?

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Responses

  1. What kind of anniversary gift can I find for a guy like that?.

    Take him into the bedroom, close the door, and “file his briefs”. Alone time together is always the most wonderful gift.

    • Yes-we enjoy spending time alone together no matter what we are doing.

  2. You are so blessed in so many ways!!!

    What Robert said or whatever you know will make him happy!!!!!

    • Thank you. You are right. I am very lucky.

  3. Your husband is quite a special guy. He probably would say he has everything he needs. Think of what would really make him happy. Maybe it would be some special time with you….if so, you probably know exactly how to present your case.

    • Yes, he is a great guy, and we have routinely decided not to give gifts to each other. He does have things he wants which are quite expensive, and he’d feel guilty rather than happy if I were to get those items.

  4. Robert probably has it about right but I would do one thing more. I did it for someone else who had been the support I needed to help me change my life, and he was reduced to tears.

    Copy what you have written, or an edited version, and print it out on special paper. Then find an illuminated drawing of the first letter of the piece. There are loads of templates on the web. I used the chap’s name and blew up the initial so I could illuminate a very, very, large initial letter. I cannot draw well, so I worked out the spacings necessary and then printed off several copies of a plain sheet of coloured paper with the illuminated letter shape I(it was black) on: then I put the same piece of paper through the printer again but this time printed out the rest of the words, but with this large capital letter at the beginning. I made several copies of this to practice on as well as one for the original.

    I chose a couple of coloured pens and high- lighted various parts of the illuminated letter, then bought a warm gold pen and really went to town, gilding lots of places. When I was satisfied, I had the whole thing framed with a mount to enhance the colours chosen and gave it to the recipient on the morning of a ceremony at which he was to be recognised for his contributions to education. When he unwrapped it and saw it and read the words, his eyes filled with tears. All the time he was at work he had it hanging on the wall: it gave him something to keep and read over and over whenever things got on top of him.

    A lovely thing would be to get words from your children to add to yours, and perhaps from the grandchildren too, and put together a collage, a kind of ‘homage’ (think French accent here) to his many roles over the years. Pehaps give it to him at a special meal or similar.

    Any help?

    • I love your idea to make it into a framed piece. I am not creative in any way, shape or form. But I may be able to get my daughter or daughter-in-law to help me. If he were to get teared up, more is the better. I have never been able to give him a gift that did that! Actually, I think that he might even like this as much as he would Robert’s suggestion.
      Thank you.

  5. This was such a heart-felt post. It’s the truth of marriage that I think most people don’t realize (it ain’t always pretty, but you hang on anyway).

    Robert and Sweffling had perfect ideas – you do both of those and I think he will know how much he is loved.


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