'...that is what I do, hey, baby'
“Really?” my friend asked, her voice incredulous. “You really miss him when he’s not home?”
“Of course I miss my husband when he’s not home,” I responded. “I don’t understand why you’d think I wouldn’t.”
My friend paused, and it was during that brief moment that I was reminded why she’d be skeptical of my admission. “I’d be willing to bet that the man you sleep with and have tagged as ‘your poor, misunderstood boyfriend’ has a wife at home who misses him when he’s not with her, too,” I said.
“That’s different,” she responded, as expected, interrupting me as I tried to say, once again, that it’s not at all different before filing my opinions on the above-mentioned matter away for another time. “You’ve been with your husband for so long now. What could there possibly be to miss when you’re not together.”
Perhaps it will come off as sappy or far too perfect to admit I was able to tick off a list of things about my Tool Man that I miss when he’s away – and believe me, he’s away a lot. However, I was able to do just that. The role he plays in this long-running show we have going on goes a bit dark when we’re not together. The man is my partner in crime, so to speak. If I’m the one casing the joint and fine-tuning the heist, he’s the one making sure the get-away car is fully operational. They may be separate jobs, but they bring about one shared payday, and requires the two of us to be in synch. After fourteen years of marriage, I think we’re pretty much in synch. We certainly don’t have a perfect marriage, and personally, I don’t want one that is, and while we’re completely capable of functioning alone, things seem to work better when we work together.
Especially when it comes to pretend bank heists, but, you know, whatever. It applies to other areas, too.
Remember when I said that each night we go to bed together, we fall asleep holding hands? That’s totally the truth. Sure, when he’s gone, I always feel like an explorer who’s charted new land when I jump into bed, land in the middle, and then spread each limb to the four corners, effectively staking my claim to territory I feel is rightfully mine. But it never fails to feel a bit 'off,' so when he's home, I allow Tool Man to annex his bit of pillow-topped property. Sure, I might complain and dip a leg over his property line, but damn if he’s not typically a good neighbor. The kind you want to hold hands with, which, if that’s the kind of neighborhood you live in, wow, I want to move there.
Granted, his snoring can be so loud and annoying sometimes that, were the bed an actual neighborhood and not just a metaphor for our relationship, I’d call the cops every night to complain about the ruckus going on next door, but I digress...
When he’s gone, I miss the person who can help me with our boys, whether that means with an especially taxing math assignment as part of our eldest’s homework, or because he can take over marveling at our youngest’s latest magic trick when, after spending 40 minutes gasping in shock and delight at each “Abracadabra!!” , I’ve still not seen my chosen card emerge from the deck as promised and I now have to turn my attention elsewhere to keep our household moving along smoothly. I miss the person who I willingly sacrifice space on the DVR to record “House” so he can record a show he prefers to watch (btw, thank you, TV Network Gods, for putting shows online, seriously). I miss the person I know will protect me if necessary. He’s the same person who will bring home a coffee for me without asking if I wanted one, just because he wanted to do that for me. I miss watching him interact with our sons, and, heaven help him (or me), I miss watching this 40-year-old man try to figure out how to do different loads of laundry without asking me a million questions, yet still be the Jedi Master when it comes to getting the stains out of my shirts after I’ve spilled a bite of whatever we’ve had for dinner that night upon them (which, it should be noted, happens damn near every night, so this fact alone should really be at the top of my list).
In case you were wondering, I just asked Tool Man what he misses about me when we’re apart. At the top of his list? “Having you around so I spell words correctly,” he said. First thing. Seriously. I’ll give him that. The dude is a horrific speller who probably married me more for my sexy journalism degree than that thing I can do with my ::edited:: (thanks to my sexy journalism degree!). Now, raise your hand if you can tell me who the more romantic one in this relationship is. You. In the back row. Care to take a guess? That’s right. Me. I am. Oh, but wait! Tool Man’s not done yet! “I also miss how you always want to kiss me.” Well, well, well. Interesting. This is totally true, btw, and, for the record, I just got up and gave him a giant kiss square on the mouth for that response. So, to all of you who were waiting for the option of “You AND Tool Man” before raising your hand, I’ll give you credit also. Oh, just a second. Tool Man’s not done yet! I bet this one is going to be fantastic! Let’s listen, shall we? “I also miss all the chances I have to aggravate you. I can’t help it. I LIVE to aggravate you!” OK, well, looks like I’m back to just giving those of you who answered “You” that point. The rest of you, please get out your notebooks and write a two page essay titled “Ways Tool Man Can Bring the Thunder” and leave them on my desk by tomorrow.
To be fair to my friend, she’s never had the kind of solid marital relationship that I and our other friends enjoy. Her former husband cheated on her their entire marriage, and now, after years of lamenting how she fears being alone forever, she’s convinced herself that it’s OK to be the ‘other woman’ in a situation (because no matter how she decorates it, it’s not a relationship) that, I won’t lie, I pray to fail. She grew up with an aunt and uncle who served as her mother and father because her own mother couldn’t care to miss her, and her father was never known. She has two daughters she does miss when they’re gone, and I suppose that’s sort of the same as missing a spouse, but not really, for they serve a far, far different role. I wish she could feel what it’s like to be part of a relationship where the other person truly is your equal and who has your back. Aggravating as he can be (and believe me, I don’t doubt for one minute that he truly does live to make me crazy), I miss my Tool Man when he’s not around, even after all the time we've spent together.
Also, I’d totally let him be the one to pull off the heist while I drove the getaway car. Why? I’m a faster (albeit safer) driver who doesn’t floor the breaks at every red light like some kissable aggravating man I know. And Tool Man? Tool Man is nothing if not a stickler for details, which is just another thing about him that I miss when he’s not around.
So is that really so odd?
Labels: and it's going to carry on