Two years ago, when my mom suffered a debilitating stroke that left her unable to live by herself anymore, my husband suggested she move in with us. Knowing that my mom would be requiring a lot of my time, he willingly took on the lion’s share of the activities for our two daughters.
Our older daughter, now in her first year of high school, is not driving yet. This is unfortunate because her social life is revving up like the motor of a rebuilt ’66 Ford Mustang. If she’s not meeting friends for a movie or dinner, then she’s meeting them to study or she’s running to church or she’s delivering birthday cupcakes to her BFF. Hint: They are all her BFFs.
Our younger daughter, now in her first year of middle school, is a competitive softball player. For those of you not in the world of competitive sports, this not only eats up every last minute you have as a parent, it also drains your bank account dry and leaves you wondering how you put more than 7,400 miles on your vehicle in one month. Hint: Tournaments. They don’t call it travel ball for nothing, friends.
Since my mom is mostly independent, but not quite totally independent, there are times when I get to play the part of chauffeur. Sometimes this is out of a desire to spend quality time with my daughters on the way to the mall and sometimes out of necessity because even though my husband is an incredible man, he has not yet mastered the super power of being in two places (or, in this instance, driving two cars) at once. Nonetheless, thanks to technology, my husband is the original Uber driver, taking texts from our daughters with requests to be transported from the mall to school and back home again.
On rare occasions, we find that both of the girls have an engagement the same night that doesn’t require our supervision or presence and we’ll steal away to dinner before racing in different directions hoping that when bedtime rolls around both of our girls are home with us as we fall into bed, sleeping soundly through the night only to wake up and do it all over again.
The rest of the household chores and shenanigans, we share. If I do the laundry, he puts it away. If I cook dinner, he loads the dishwasher. We take turns cleaning the bathrooms, mowing the yard and yelling at the girls to do their chores already.
He sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t he? Well, I am partial because I’ve spent almost 18 years of my life with him. And because I’ve spent 18 years of my life with him, I can tell you this with all honesty: he’s not. He’s not perfect and there’s one flaw that keeps him from being so: the trash.
Let me play this out for you. I’m cooking or cleaning or helping mom or one of our daughters and discover that the main household trash container is full. Usually, it’s overflowing. I look into the living room and see my blessed husband sitting in his recliner, one hand on the remote and one hand on the mouse pad of his Chrome Book. As I make my way back to whatever task, chore or job I’m in the middle of, I say, lovingly, “Honey? Will you take out the trash?” And he will respond, “Yes.”
This conversation has not changed one single bit since we began making a life together. I say as I busily scurry back to the task at hand, “Honey? Will you take out the trash?” And he will respond, “Yes.” Eighteen years and it’s still the exact same conversation.
This is where it gets tricky, though. In this instance, when he says yes, it means something different. If I ask if he can change out the laundry and he says yes, the laundry gets changed. If I ask if he can pick up a child and he says yes, the child gets picked up. If I ask if he can take out the trash and he says yes, the trash will stay in the container for at least three more days or until the trash men themselves come and collect it as it spills from our doorway into the garage and down the driveway.
Just last week, he took the girls to an out-of-state softball tournament. As he walked out, after kissing me goodbye, his hands completely empty, I asked, “Be careful! Oh! And, honey, will you take out the trash?” He said, “Yes.” And then he walked past the empty Little Debbie and Life Cereal boxes that had fallen from their perch atop the ice cream container, which was set on top of the empty peanut butter jar and drove our children four hours away.
The garbage men like the new bags I got. They say they’ll hold up to a week’s worth of trash without tearing.
Heather Davis is a momma, a writer and loves her husband dearly even though she’s yet to learn the secret to actually communicating with him. She and her family live in Oklahoma. You can find out more via her website www.Heather-Davis.net.