My son likes to go through our wedding album.
We have a beautiful book that our photographer put together that captures some of the most memorable moments of that day like Dad walking me down to the beach and my then-18-month-old nephew cutting a rug.
My son always asks to see the picture of “Daddy being sad.”
“Momma, is Daddy crying?” he said this weekend, pointing to a picture of David wiping away a tear as we said our vows.
“Yes, just a little,” I answer.
“Did he cry because he married you?”
My child does not understand what he has just asked. While it is laughable in the moment, there are many times that I wonder if David has any regrets.
Look, my husband loves me to the moon and back, of that I have no doubt. And I, in return, would be completely lost without him.
But marriage is hard.
Really, really hard.
It was hard before the kids came, and it only got harder afterward.
Many days I feel like I have a choice: I can either be a good mother, a good wife, a good writer or a good housekeeper. Maybe a mix of two or three, but rarely all.
Unfortunately, the “good wife” area is the one that gets sacrificed so I can succeed in the other areas.
Marriage really tests you.
You have to live with someone else. Someone who might be less clean than you. Someone who does not understand why putting a wet towel on a hook over another wet towel is inefficient. Someone who does not ever shut anything: doors, cabinets, spice lids and light switches.
For years, I have gotten frustrated with my husband over these little things. I still struggle to accept that he simply does not see dust collecting on the furniture or the marks on the wall that DRIVE ME INSANE. His male eyes cannot see dirt, but they sure can find a hockey puck no matter where it is on the TV screen.
My frustration usually manifests in what David calls, “The Tone,” or a nasty edge in my voice.
While my husband does the dumbest things ever sometimes (“Can our 5-month-old have a tortilla chip?”), he does not deserve to get The Tone.
Some days, all he wants to do is show me a funny meme on his phone.
“Kate, you have to see this,” he says excitedly.
But I have been up since 4 a.m. with two kids who want to be touching me all the time. I have cleaned and re-cleaned every room in our house and the place is still a disaster. The dog is vomiting up god-knows-what and the plans I had for dinner have fallen through because I forgot to get olive oil, squash and chicken at the store. (How? HOW?) Not to mention that bedtime is rapidly approaching and the baby’s blanket is still in the washing machine after a toddler potty incident. Oh, and I am under deadline for work.
So do I really want to take 20 seconds to talk about YET ANOTHER grumpy cat meme?
Instead of being polite, I roll my eyes, sigh heavily and agonizingly shift my gaze from my laptop to my beautiful husband, his bright blue eyes filled with love for me, holding out his phone with the intention of just making me smile.
“Never mind,” he says quietly.
He doesn’t deserve it, and I know he doesn’t. No amount of dirty socks in the corner or sheer ignorance about the kids (“Where are their diapers?”) merits that.
It might seem like a small thing, but these small things quickly multiply and become a monster small thing. We are fortunate to fall back on our commitment to each other, but it is not always easy.
“Did Daddy cry because he had to marry you?” Vinny sweetly asks again.
“Maybe, buddy,” I reply, and secretly vow to be a better wife.