The Hub, bless him, absorbs more than his fair share of flack. Generally, heís OK with that. While it is never a warm and fuzzy moment when he reads a piece Iíve written that gripes about some of his less endearing traits, he is able to take it in the spirit with which it is intended. I love my Hub and, luckily, also like being around him. But any two people, no matter how much they enjoy each other, will always find at least one thing that royally pisses them off about the other person.
Sane and reasonable folk keep these irritations behind closed doors. By now, we should all know where I stand on the ďsane and reasonableĒ continuum. I suspect that my tendency to publicly confess any number of my less-than-polite thoughts and feelings may be the Hubís most frequent peeve about my personality. But this habit does mean that he usually has a barometer of my moods without having to ask. Which is worth something, I suspect.Regardless, my columns, as brilliant and insightful as they may be (she said with her tongue firmly in cheek), only give my side of any story. One of my former bosses once joked, after reading the Happy Fun Guy column that is on this very site, that the best gift I could ever give my spouse would be a restraining order. He, clearly, didnít get the spirit I intended.
The idea of truly impartial journalism is one that Iíve long rebelled against. Not only is it impossible when you have living, breathing people involved in the stories, it would be mind- numbingly boring to read. And if Iím against anything other than chiggers and Kevin Federline, it would be reading things that are dull. Life is too short. The problem is, however, the Hub has no desire to write about why he loves golf or the perks of being Happy Fun Guy. Heís not the writing sort, which makes it all the more special when he does pen something to me in a Motherís Day card or romantic post-it note on my desk. Until the Diva learns to read, Iím the designated chronicler of our household. It is a mantle I wear with pride.
Still, I donít take enough time to praise the good man Iíve got. There are reasons for my slackitude, of course. Strife is always a much more meaty topic than contentment. All it takes to confirm this is a glance at the bestsellers lists. You never see books like ďGosh, Iím happy and so are youĒ or ďThe Ten Best Choices Iíve Ever Made.Ē Where is the drama? The strife? The obstacles that need to be overcome? Without those, youíve really written a diary entry, fit only for your eyes. Couple that with the Hubís general easy-going-ness and preference for fading into the background, which seems to be in direct opposition to the personalities of the women in his life, and itís no wonder that I rarely feel compelled to point out that Iím thrilled heís stuck around for the last almost-15 years. Lord knows Iíve given him plenty of cause to bolt, yet heís still here, for reasons I may never truly understand.
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In honor of Fatherís Day, which the Hub will spend golfing and about which I shall say nothing, Iíd like to take a mere moment to mention why Iím glad weíve both made the choices we have. Next month, my general crabbiness will reappear (trust me, Iím now eight months pregnant, swelteringly hot, horrifically swollen and massively uncomfortable. If any situation inspires bitching, it is this one). And, so, a brief list that will try to encompass a huge emotional history while simultaneously attempting to be entertaining:
1. I am happy that I live with the heretofore unknown
superhero ďHandyman.Ē No, really. I like that the Hub knows how to fix toilets
and plaster and locks and outlets. It is said that no man has ever been
shot by his spouse while doing dishes. True enough. But men who do
dishes AND fix the leaky tap will live long lives indeed. Having your
spouse actually care about things like the paint in the living room or
the drafts in the basement indicates that he cares about things other
than himself. As retro as it sounds, by caring about the house, heís
showing that he cares about the Diva and I by extension. And that sound
you hear is Gloria Steinem shrieking because she could feel me compare
myself to the state of my home. She can bite me.
3. As much as I may gripe about Happy-Fun Guy, I am thrilled that he lives here. HFG has kept Grumpy-Mean Mommy Shrew from leaving the Diva on the front porch for the gypsies on more than one occasion. It goes both ways, of course, but watching him parent our little girl makes me fall more in love with him. He interacts with her in a completely different but equally valuable way that never fails to amaze me, even if he lets her eat Funyuns and cheese puffs.
4. The first time I ever set my eyes on the guy who would become the Hub, he was in our dormís laundry room, meticulously lining up the seams in his jeans before he folded them. Over the top of my homework, I watched this stranger do this and swore that Iíd never get involved with someone so persnickety. But I learned. Heís really only Felix Unger-ish about the bits of life that matter to him, which, conveniently, are the same bits of life that matter to me, like balancing family-time with me-time and exercising oneís creative self. Heís not hung-up on money or status or owning stuff so much as on the quality of life and the value of time. He has, over the years, lightened up about the seams in his pants, as well as so many other inessentials, but still has priorities that he pursues with a dogged perseverance that is almost inspirational.
5. The Hub is who he is. During our 20s, we both went through that weird quarter-life crisis where you question who you are and what the heck you want. He came out of it quickly and discovered a casual acceptance of himself that I still envy. He is honest and decent and generally kind. He also has a mischievous streak that only comes out once you know him for a few years. Those whoíve never seen this refuse to believe that it exists, but it does and it is wonderful.
6. Finally, Iím happy that he seems happy, despite
all of the cause he
might have not to be. I am not a perfect wife, not by a long shot. June
Cleaver doesnít live here, nor does Martha Stewart. I am the only one
in this house bothered by my slack housecleaning and quasi-competent
menu planning and the closet full of yarn. Even after the Diva was
born, when I went completely off the rails, it didnít drive a wedge in
our relationship and, instead, made it stronger. Above all else, he is
a fundamentally good man and Iím a lucky woman.
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