Category Archives: Marriage

Boys Will Be Boys

Nana camp is an invitation only event.  My mother-in-law takes all of her grandchildren for a week of crafts, activities and general grandparent indulgence.  This year while Max and Lucy traveled to Nana camp Harper and I took our first plane ride up to Michigan to visit my parents.  My parents have yet to see Harper and so we took this opportunity to introduce them to their seventh grandchild. This left David home by himself. FOR A WHOLE WEEK.

During his unexpected bachelor time he decided to do some home improvement projects.  While I was envisioning the hanging of shelves or the painting of walls, he envisioned maybe hanging a picture and going fishing.  Now, he did hang the pictures in the kitchen and I am incredibly grateful for that.   However, this is what I found sitting on my kitchen counter when I returned:

This is a phenomenon.  Most women I talk to speak of the same occurrence in their household.  A home improvement is FINALLY completed only to be left with a table/counter full of tools.  I’ve actually waited to see how long it would take David to put the tools away and the longest I’ve been able to hold out was four months. His argument? He is planning on still using those tools to do another project. Where? When? What? Nobody knows, but someday he will need those tools again and it would be so much more convenient to use them if they just sat on the kitchen counter until then.

Even though Max was the only boy at Nana camp with a plethora of female cousins he managed to have a great time swimming, fishing and playing in the air conditioning (he wasn’t so keen on playing outside and being hot).  He also left me a little surprise on the kitchen counter:

Max gleefully explained to me that he made a “brown snowman”.  So very thoughtful of him to bring me back such a sweet homemade gift from camp.

Ahhh boys, you gotta love ’em.

The D-Word

I love watching the show “Intervention”.  I was a “good” kid growing up and was never once tempted to try drugs or abuse alcohol. David says that if I were a super hero my super power would be an immunity to peer pressure. Indeed I have a sort of impervious attitude against what other people think of me.  You combine that quality with the fact that I hate feeling “out of control” and you can understand why drugs and alcohol never held an allure for me.  That makes “Intervention” fascinating to me. Why? Why do people do this to themselves? Why do they consciously choose to escape their own reality? But since becoming a mother the real underlying reason I watch is to answer the question, “could that be my kid?” I have this unquenchable desire to understand why people start drugs. What drives them to that choice? What could their parents or family done differently? How can I create an environment that shields my children from that same life choice?

Within the last month David and I have received the news that four of our friends are starting or finishing divorce proceedings. These are friends for whom we stood at their weddings.  We bought presents, attended parties, wished them well and shared in their joy of marital happiness.  We all started at the same gate with presents and dresses and ceremonies of one kind or another but we won’t all finish.  The same fear and curiosity that drives me to watch “Intervention” makes me obsess over my friends’ divorces.  What went wrong? How did two seemingly happy people grow apart? How did they end up hating each other? What happened? But the most important question is “am I next”?

It’s weird how we all get married, have kids, start careers and the tracks of our lives seem to run smoothly and parallel. Oh, we get busy and perhaps we don’t spend as much time together but we assume that our life experiences remain similar.  Until one day you find out your friend’s life has taken a major detour and you never saw it coming.  I’m not angry at my friends or even disappointed.  I am sad.  I am sad for them and fearful for myself.

Inevitably while watching “Intervention” it will come out that during this person’s past something traumatic happened.  They were abused, molested, neglected, etc, etc.  Some life-altering event happened that started this person’s downward spiral into drugs and alcohol. It is always easy to identify and point to the source of this person’s addiction and bad choices.  But with divorce, there is no clear reason.  Even an affair is not the reason for the divorce the problem started long before the affair.  How do any of us know if we are doing the right thing? How can I avoid this happening in my own marriage? Overall I think David and I have a good marriage. We talk, we hang out, we care, we’re respectful, but didn’t everybody start off like that? When does talking and loving dissolve into resentment and distaste?

I wish I could fast forward to the part of the show where they tell me if the person stayed sober or fell off the wagon.  I’m always hoping for a happy ending and perhaps the idea of divorce really messes with my desire for life to have neatly squared off corners.

Hello? Hello? Are You Listening?

When you’re a mother your telephone conversations sound something like this:

Mother #1: hello?

Mother #2: hi – I just wanted to call and talk to you about the current health care debate

Mother #1: Oh, I know did you watch CNBC last night?

Mother #2: I did, and I really thought, Tommy! Tommy! I told you to not hit your sister. SARAH! stop hitting your brother! Who wants to lose a privilege? Sorry about that – let me see, yes, I liked what they were saying about universal coverage but was concerned about the tax implications and you?

Mother #1: Well, I didn’t see the piece on CNBC but NPR was interviewing the CEO of a pharmaceutical company and, BILLY! BILLY! Put that knife down.  Yes, Emma I will wipe your bottom. Sorry, okay, well NPR was discussing how the reform might impact malpractice insurance and the availability of doctors.

Do you see how that works? The side conversations with children and punishments dolled out are respectively ignored and the conversation proceeds seamlessly.  Neither party offended at the break in conversation nor distracted by the requests of the children in the background.  And yet, if this same conversation were held between a mother and a man — any man — it would sound like this:

Mother #1: Hello?

Man: Hi, I was wondering what was for dinner tonight


Man: I’ll let you go, you sound busy.

Busy? Of course I’m busy. I’m always busy. I’m a part-time working mother of two. The only time I’m not doing three tasks at the same time is when I’m asleep. If you insist on my complete undivided attention on the phone then please plan on calling when my children are 18 years old. I’m not sure why women can follow this phone conversation phenomenon and why men seem to instantly short circuit like a Microsoft hard drive that is trying to run too many apps, but they do and it is frustrating.

As a mother of multiple children (and yes, I’m afraid you need to have more than one to make this happen) my multi-tasking abilities have reached that of Ninja-level.  All those teenagers who think they are special because they can drive and text – Pshaw! That is nothing.  I can cook dinner, assist with spelling homework, pack lunches for tomorrow AND text message all at the same time.  I can wash hair in the bathtub, wipe somebody’s bottom, AND conduct a phone job interview all seamlessly.

What is it about women that makes us able to juggle so many tasks with little problem? Is it biological or did we develop this skill out of necessity? Would a man also be able to multi-task with such ease if he was a single dad? I have no idea but in the meantime I think it might be a good idea for me to start utilizing my “mute” button on my telephone.

And Yet He Will Always Be Younger


Today is David’s birthday.  He turns 36 this year.  I always find it amazing that when I met him and we first started dating he was only 25.  That seems so young to me now.  Although he has less hair, some things never change.  David is still the funniest person I know.  He is the only person who can make me laugh until I pee and then make me laugh that I just peed. As cheesy as this is going to sound the song “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera ALWAYS makes me think of him – especially the chorus:

Ain’t no other man, can stand up next to you

Ain’t no other man on the planet does what you do

You’re the kind of guy a girl finds in a blue moon

You’ve got soul, you’ve got class,

you’ve got style with your bad ass,

Ain’t no other man its true.

That’s David – he’s got soul, he’s got class, he’s got style and he’s a total bad ass.  Now, if I could just get him to do the dishes once and awhile he’d be pretty close to perfect. Happy Birthday!!

Wiser? Or Just Plain Old?

It felt like it happened over night. I stood there staring into the mirror and there they were staring back at me. Wrinkles. Oh, they are small and some might call them “character lines” but no matter what flowery language you use they are still wrinkles and they are on MY forehead.  I’m 39 and 40 is the next block over.  Things are different as I look down the barrel of this milestone and not in the ways I expected.

From the moment David and I met I have always taken great pride in the fact that I’m not a jealous person.  I have entertained and fed more than one of David’s ex-girlfriends.  I have watched him attend bachelor parties, happy hours, and other events without me and have never thought twice about it.  He has spent days at photo shoots with professional models, and his office is frequently filled with beautiful single women.  It has never once bothered me.  Why? Well, I’m pretty secure with myself and in my relationship. I figure if David was really bent on straying nothing I could ever say or do would stop him.  And yet, without warning, things are starting to change.

Before you think that somehow my marriage has hit rocky ground it has not.  David and I are as solid and in love as ever.  What has changed, is me, and it has a great deal more to do with those suspicious wrinkles on my forehead than I’d like to admit.  It all fell into place when I read this recent article by Mommy Track’d. I am more jealous of the women my husband works with and the time he spends away from the house. Why? Because I’m no longer the young, 20-something, career minded, sexy, independent super girl I was when we met.  No, my body now wears the scars of two children and four pregnancies. I have stretch marks, and cellulite, and wrinkles. The circles around my eyes, that used to be easily gotten rid of with some ice cubes and good eye cream, no longer vanish over night – or sometimes at all. That high-power, high-paying career that I had forged for myself is now a victim on the sidelines of my life.  I can no longer compete with the women that my husband interacts with on a daily basis and at 39 I’m all too aware of it.

David assures me that those things are no longer important to him.  He laughs and scowls when I bring it up telling me that in place of those things I have provided him with a home, children, a foundation for him to build his life. That we always have been and always will be soul-mates fatefully locked together.  I know he is telling me the truth. I know he means all the words coming from his mouth.  But I can’t help but miss that 20-something young super girl and wonder if sometimes he misses her too? I’m not mourning the loss of my younger body (because lets face it, it was never GREAT), but I miss the confidence that the younger me had. I miss the seemingly bottomless pit of belief and passion I felt within myself.

Perhaps that is what getting older and wiser is all about.  You lose your unshakable confidence because you more honestly recognize your faults and misgivings.  You no longer need the shield of false bravado to get through life but instead gain the greater strength of seeing yourself more nakedly than you ever have before.  And this honesty, this unfiltered vision, brings with it fear of who you REALLY are not who you were trying to pretend to be the first 30 years.  And just perhaps that is true wisdom.

Desperate Date

While at our niece’s ninth birthday party this weekend, David and I mentioned that we’d like to see “Star Trek”. My mother-in-law quickly chimed in “Oh, well they can spend the night with me”. Oh really? David and I bolted out of that house faster than if we had written a bad check. We jumped into the car, frantically pulled out our iPhones and in a panic began looking for a theater that had a showing of “Star Trek” that was not sold out. David was pushing 90 miles an hour and screaming the “f-word” at any driver that even thought about going the speed limit. I was dialing and strategizing our movie plan with an efficiency that could have only been matched by a 5-star general plotting an invasion. Our tires squealed against the pavement as we slid into the first parking space we could find at 9:15 pm. We hopped out of the car, and without even looking at each other we began sprinting to the theater door. David ran up to the apathetic teenager working the counter plunked down his credit card and said “I’ll take two tickets for the 10:05 show”. She slowly began to make her selections on the register when I chimed in, “Are there any seats available for the 9:30”? David glared at me as if to say “Damn it woman! Don’t be greedy”. The girl took a moment, stopped chewing her gum and said “uh, yeah there are still, like, 60% of the seats left”. As we slumped into our seats David turned to me and said, “We’ve got 12 hours to see a movie, sleep in, eat breakfast together and squeeze in a meaningful conversation all before our children are returned. ” That’s a man who knows how to seize a moment.

The movie was fantastic. It was so good that I have nothing further to say about it except that J.J. Abrams is a god and that it is the closest thing to cinematic perfection I have seen in a long time. David woke up this morning and made ME breakfast and as we lingered over our hamburger bun toast we commented that when the kids grow up this is what our lives will be like. It was in that moment that we realized how much we missed being with them.


David and I got in a fight on Mother’s Day. I feel comfortable in confessing this since both the female CEO of his company and his only female employee both know about the argument (Hi Katie and thanks for taking my side). This marital dispute can easily be summarized with one word: expectations.

You see I woke up at 7:00 AM Sunday morning (as I have done every morning since February 28th 2004 – the day Lucy was born). I turned on cartoons, made some chocolate milk for the kids, and logged on to Facebook. This is when things went downhill. You see, while I was continuing with my wifely duties (and David slept) my friends were having breakfast in bed, their homes were being cleaned, cheesecakes were being presented and Lord knows what other glories of appreciation were being showered on them. I tried to ignore the green-eyed monster of jealousy raging up inside of me, because after all David does do MANY wonderful things. He did ask me Friday night on his way home from work if there was something special I wanted for Mother’s Day and I told him a blog redesign. That is not something you can wrap in a box and present on Mother’s Day. And yet, that great sin of envy, that horrible jealous monster could not be ignored. It was developing a low growl.

I brushed the jealousy aside and began to make breakfast when David woke up. He shuffled out into the kitchen and said “good morning”. I cried. Really, things got ugly pretty quickly after that. Lots of words were said, and fingers were waved, accusations flung, angry whispers in the corners, glares across the room, but it all boiled down to expectations.

David felt he had fulfilled his duties. He had bought a card and chocolate and offered to redesign my blog. Mission complete. I, on the other hand, felt that more attention needed to be paid to ME and my enjoyment of MY day. I should have been allowed to sleep in. Breakfast should have been made by someone else besides me. Kids dressed by somebody else besides me. David felt that he never got the chance to do any of these things (if he had even planned on doing them) because I was crying before he woke up and thus I had preemptively ruined the day.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter. David loves me. He appreciates me and when he’s working 70+ hours a week I see it in his eyes. I see it every night when he comes home to a warm dinner or when he realizes I’ve washed all his clothes, or when I sit and listen, one more time, to the problems at work. David has never been great at planning big holiday surprises. It is not his thing. However, he takes care of me, cherishes me and shows me his love in a hundred other unique ways. Most of the time that expression of love does not fall on Mother’s Day. I suppose in the bigger picture I’d rather have a husband who shows me his love and appreciation in small ways, every day than one who only shows me once a year.