Howard the Hero
Yesterday afternoon, just after welcoming my neighbor’s toddler to be babysat for 2 hours, I had the alarming realization that what I thought was mild indigestion was actually something much worse. I was curl-up-on-the-couch sick. Howard had gone out to spend the afternoon at The Keep. I called him there. I wanted him to come home, but I also knew that he was getting work done and work being done is pretty important to our family. Howard’s husbandly senses were in good working order because he quickly determined that he was needed at home even though I tried not to outright say “Come home please.” I’m going to blame my illness for the unnecessary twistiness of that conversation.
Howard came home and sent me to bed. Usually I have a hard time turning off my Mommy Radar if I’m anywhere in the vicinity of my children. I was sick enough that it shut down of it’s own accord. In my lucid moments over the next few hours I listened to Howard manage upsets, fix dinner, hand the borrowed toddler back to his mom, and generally manage the children with no crises whatsoever. At bedtime he only needed minor instructions from me and handled all the rest of it himself. It all made me so happy that I wanted to cry. I was so happy because I was able to curl into a ball and ignore the world for 18 hours and know that my kids were still being well cared for. 14 months ago he could not have done it. Since he’s been working at home, Howard has learned the routines that I run and the kids have come to accept him as a caretaker. The fact that I could listen to minor conflicts without feeling like I needed to jump out of bed and mediate shows how I’ve come to trust him in that role.
But even more than that, what made me happy enough to cry was that the moment I really needed him Howard dropped everything and helped me. He’s done it before and I know he’ll do it again. I spend my days muddling along trying to keep everything running, but I know that when things fall apart Howard is there for me. It is a priceless gift that I can only repay by trying to be there for him in the same way.