My latest Blue Star Families post:
I’ve been writing letters to my husband, and I thought it only fair to write a letter to you as well. After all, you are currently the most omnipotent presence in my life. I can’t ignore you. I can’t escape you. Even censuring you with unladylike profanity doesn’t deter you from hanging around. Like a long-lost acquaintance in need of a place to crash, you have taken up residence in my life without giving me any indication as to your exit strategy. So I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s in my best interest to accept you. But before I can fully accept you, I need to ask you for a few favors. You have to admit you owe me.
Thanks to you, my cell phone is permanently attached to my body like an extraneous appendage. I can’t leave my house without worrying that I’ll miss a call from my husband. I learned my lesson the first time I missed a call while I foolishly took out the trash unaccompanied by my phone. But even when I’m home, I think you purposely orchestrate phone calls so they come when I’m least prepared to receive them. I’m cleaning the toilet, I’m preparing dinner and have raw chicken juice dripping from my hands, or I’m on the other line with Fios tech support after waiting 20 minutes on hold. Favor #1: Can you work on the timing of phone calls so (a) I’m able to talk to my husband without fellow Wal-Mart customers eavesdropping and (b) I’m not in the powder room when the phone rings?
You’re also forcing me to violate fundamental personal rules. I swore I’d never resort to fast food on those nights when cooking dinner for one adult seems too daunting. But my children now have an enviable collection of Happy Meal toys. I swore I’d never neglect my housekeeping duties. But you’ve made it so easy to let the house go when the only people who see it proudly vie for the title of messiest room. And I swore I’d never invite another man into my bed. But my 6-year-old son has somehow suckered me into weekly sleepovers. Favor #2: Can you please allow me to hold onto my vow not to cuddle with my husband’s pillow? I think he’ll be jealous when he gets home.
Furthermore, because of you, I have developed a rather unpleasant addiction. To country music. My family is well aware of my aversion to country music, a genre I’ve always deemed sappy and whiny. But the other day, I found myself pressing the #8 preset button in my car, the button my husband surreptitiously programmed to a country radio station just to irritate me. And when I lingered a little too long on preset #8, my son chimed in from the backseat, “Why are you listening to country music Mom? Is it because it makes you think of Dad?” Favor #3: Can you cure me of my spiraling addiction? No hurry. Just make sure I’ve completed the 12-step program before my husband comes home and pokes fun of me.
And then there are the weekends. Under normal circumstances, the anticipation of weekend family time and relaxation is enough to get me through the week. However, since your arrival, weekends are prolonged and tiresome. Without my husband here to entertain the kids, the house echoes with fierce declarations of, “Mom, I’m bored!” Favor #4: Can you find a way to skip the weekends?
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. And I thank you for the favors you’ve already granted me, such as teaching me that mowing the lawn can actually be the perfect opportunity for introspection and that putting both kids to bed isn’t a challenge, but a time of bonding I now look forward to. Although I’ve become accustomed to your presence, at some point you’re going to overstay your welcome, and I will gladly say farewell when you decide to leave us. I hope you don’t take offense when I don’t invite you back for a return visit.
Wife on the Roller Coaster
PS—One last request. Favor #5: Can you please send my husband home soon? A pillow is no substitute for the real thing, and my other man hogs the covers.