We all like to feel appreciated and one of the ways we do that in our society tends to be gifts. That’s relatively easy for a family to do for a mum; flowers, pamper treats or maybe a nice bundle of yarn if you are me. 😉 I can be made very happy by coming home to find the house is tidied unexpectedly or something I normally have to nag about has happened without the normal required amount of shouting.
But what about Daddy? In this house, Max has an unfortunate run up to the dates normally reserved for treating dad. Three kid birthdays immediately prior to his own birthday tend to leave me drained of inventive ideas and Father’s Day follows hard on its heels. Added to that, he’s hard to spoil as he has few material needs and he tends to tot up cost against need far more carefully than I do. Most recently, he doesn’t even want reminding of his age, which is understandable but does make showing appreciation hard.
We all have our foibles but he’s the most perfect husband and dad really. What I occasionally grumble about in not always fully allowing me to grumble, fret and mither, he makes up for in a multitude of ways; he’s always there, he pulls his weight and then some around the house and the bins are always empty, he washes clothing without any sense of it being ‘not his job’, he does all the shopping, all the cooking and for the last 6 years has run our business beautifully while shouldering most of the financial anxiety. He drives people to activities, allows me to follow my dreams and puts up with my flighty nature, he is rarely without a child tucked under an arm. He’s the one who takes people to the park, sets up rugby clubs to support widening interests, puts up curtain poles and shelves, mows the lawn and hauls stuff to the skip. Except that I know I also run around like a headless chicken, I’d wonder what on earth it is that I actually do.
Last week, in a brief but terrifying but actually as it turned out entirely innocuous incident, I flirted with what it might be like if I suddenly had to manage without him. It was a sickening thought. Not only to do without the physical, practical support of him, but to have to consider being both parents and manage fear and anxiety and stress without him, or to have to be his support. It was a sobering thought. He’s the man I can sit in silence with, who I laugh at the same jokes with, who doesn’t mind the flabby tummy or the endless balls of yarn. He’s the one who I meet eyes with and already know the answer has hit us both. He’s the one who has had my back throughout 5 years of grief and who I have known all through was the only reason I made it through. It has haunted me that I couldn’t have made it without him. He’s the other half and if I sometimes moan he’s not perfect, he’s the reminder that neither am I and that ‘not perfect’ from us both is pretty good.
In a couple of weeks, our life will (all being well with the dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s) change again and he’s going to be here less of our day to day life. That’s good because it will open some new doors for us further down the line but I’m going to miss the day to day companionship of my soul mate and it’s going to mean we have to work even harder to have more in common than just our children. That’s a danger, I think, in marriage; kids suck all your moments and before you know it, they are all you talk about. The business gave us an extra child in someways and now we have to find new hooks to hold us. And I’m going to have to be more of a mummy too – and more of a housewife while actually still being a writing, business owning, home educating (again) mummy. I can’t say I’m not daunted, because I know all too well how much the sleeping partner I’ve been recently. And it has been that and the constraints of anxiety and change and waiting for certainty and not worrying staff or children, that has silenced the blog recently.
I failed on birthday gifts (he got car socks and lunch out) and I’m going to fail on Father’s Day too. The Father’s Day tea I got sent for review (which is delicious, fragrant and beautifully packaged) ended up being opened up as emergency ‘we ran out of tea bags’ tea and I had to use a sieve to brew it because the tea strainer was in the sandpit 🙄 and I haven’t even managed to replace his slippers this year (he does like his slippers). I doubt very much he’s going to get exotic ‘entertainment’ as, like the Outnumbered parents, if we find ourselves home alone in daylight, we do go to bed but sleep is what we are after. 😉 Max knows better than to get me to cook for him because anything worse than tuna pasta makes me want to cry but I’ll happily clean the kitchen ready for him to cook in and send him out for a motorbike ride even though it scares me and make sure he gets his occasional classic car weekends away with his dad.
But what I can say is, when I tell you I love you Max, what I’m also saying is ‘I appreciate you, I am grateful to you, I’m still honoured to share your life and thank you for effortlessly keeping food on the table and bins emptied and my sanity intact.’
And despite mostly showing it by getting you to drive or run round in circles, spend money and have to cook, clean and empty bins constantly, I’m absolutely certain your children think the same.