I’m all tucked in, the house is quiet, a Lee Child thriller creases in my hand. And I know what I have to do. A foot away from me, my husband is all tucked in, enjoying the quiet, a Lee Child thriller creasing in his hand too, as he flexes the paperback spine.
This summer will mark the 18-year point in our relationship. And up until he finally cracked a book about hero Jack Reacher — we never read the same thing. Ever. We are yin and yang. He’s a computer engineer, I’m a creative writer. Yet despite his previously questionable taste in literature, I love him.
Which is why I can’t stop myself from annoying the heck out of him.
“Which one’s in your head?” I ask.
He thumps the book to his chest and sighs. Why? Because now I’ve ended the one quiet moment of his day and made him think about the song in his head.
And because he’s a dad, it’s a sure-fire guarantee the song in his head is a kids’ song. Double bonus for me, as those are the most difficult to tune out.
“It’s time for lunch,” he sings, “What time is it? It’s time for lunch!”
I grin as I listen to my husband belt out a tune from the Bubble Guppies. When we first met, Bubble Guppies would have rated about as high as three-day-old pizza on his radar. Correct that — we met in college. Three-day-old pizza was a score.
Back then, our refrigerators held mustard and air. Now, if I ask my husband to pick up some drinks for the kids, the next time I open the fridge I see this:
My husband goes by the philosophy, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-doing.” He probably saw that on Mythbusters. It leads to many surprise moments in my day. Such as when he refills the Q-tips:
And — hold your breath — he’s the kind of guy who even refills the gas tank. I swear, nothing brightens a morning more than climbing into the car and seeing the needle on “full.”
But the fact I can annoy him, the fact he likes to keep our family well-stocked, even the fact he actually knows the words to the “Lunch Time” song — these aren’t the main reason I love him.
One night in the late nineties, on a dark stroll through campus (the sun set at 4pm where we went to school) we came upon a puddle. A five-foot wide puddle blocking the sidewalk. Without a thought, my husband lifted me up and carried me over. A passing group of fellow students cheered, and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
When we bought our first house, he showed me how to wire a light — like with real electricity. I remember standing on the ladder outside our home, a pair of pliers in one hand and a “grounding wire” in the other and I felt like I could now co-host a show with Bob Vila.
Last year, he came home one night around dinner time, the kids were squealing in circles around the kitchen and instead of welcoming him, I went on a rant about the craziness of the day. He stood there, smiled, and then walked past me to the snack cabinet. Emerging with a bag of Dove chocolates, he began rubbing them on my back. And I felt, well, happy.
The main reason I love him is because he makes me feel alive.
It’s the little things that add up to the endless love I feel for my husband. The father of my children, who feel the very same love for him, and hug him when he leaves for work as if he’s going on a ten-year voyage to the moon.
It’s the little things, like how he can pick up a suitcase and just know it’s too heavy for the airlines. Like his forearms have a built in scale. It’s the little things, like how he hasn’t complained about raking the yard on this special day. It’s the little things like the late-night children’s television theme song marathons we subject each other to when we could just enjoy the rare quiet. Rakes and scales and guppy song tales. That’s what fathers are made of.
Yes. I love him for all the little things.
Oh, and the fact he lets me do this whenever there’s a box of chocolate in the house:
Happy Father’s Day, Honey!