Those who read my column know I give props to dads every June, when Father’s Day rolls around. But I’ve been thinking lately that maybe my husband doesn’t get enough credit for everything he does the rest of the year.
Last week was particularly brutal for me. I came down with a bad head cold last Sunday, and it brought with it a pounding headache that plagued for me a good, solid five days. As I medicated and did my best to ignore the sore throat, stuffy nose, hoarseness, cough and leaky eyes, my work responsibilities seemed to multiply exponentially.
I faced deadlines for three special sections — including our quarterly lifestyles magazine, Liberty Life — plus the regular editions of the newspaper, endless meetings, community networking events and even a visit from the owner of our company.
I couldn’t afford to miss any work, and because my 2-year-old daughter, Reese, had the same cold, neither one of us got much rest at night. In fact, on one especially rough evening, my husband confined us “sickies” to our king-sized bed while he made himself comfortable in the guest room, which he said was a safe-enough distance from the “land of cough drops, nasal spray, tissues and Mucinex.”
It must have worked because he stayed well, and I’m so glad he did because I definitely needed him in “good working order.” With so much going on and feeling poorly, I had a tough time — as usual — juggling, well, everything. I couldn’t keep all the balls in the air, but thankfully, the two of us put together could.
I got home around 9:30 p.m. Monday night and after 8 p.m. most of the other evenings. I walked in the door feeling run-down, aggravated and famished. But it’s hard to maintain a sour mood when it becomes apparent that dinner has been taken care of, the house is fairly straight (admittedly, it’s rarely ever totally straight), dishes have been washed and an adorably sweet little girl, hair still wet from a bath, jumps up to offer a hug and show off the princess pajamas she’s obviously very proud of.
Although being sick and logging some extra-long work days kept me from getting much rest last week, my helpful husband saw to it that I had little to do in the way of housework and chores when I finally did make it home.
I was so grateful when I saw that he’d loaded and unloaded the dishwasher for the third night in a row, I may have gone a little overboard with the praise. As I droned on and on about how he had really stepped up the plate and pitched in to help without even having to be asked, my husband stopped me.
“I’m barely doing any more than I usually do,” he insisted. “I’m not new to doing the dishes or giving baths or figuring out what to do for dinner. I’m happy to do it whenever you need me to.”
He was right. I realized I’d probably been making him feel like he never helps unless I am under duress when, in fact, it was just that I’m more likely to express my thankfulness for his assistance when he’s about the only person in existence trying to make my life a little easier.
During average weeks, when I’m not being pulled in 500 different directions at once and no one is making out-of-the-ordinary demands, I don’t usually thank my husband for his help. It’s just part of our routine, just as I don’t thank my boss when work is uneventful, or I don’t thank Reese on weeks when she doesn’t get sick. It’s just business as usual.
It took a string of absolutely chaotic days to make me realize there’s plenty to be thankful for when times aren’t tough. I just need to remember to be more vocal with my gratitude — as soon as I get my voice back.