Was this in the wedding vows?
Apparently, the wedding vows I took 56 years ago (57 years midway through April) contained some fine print I was unaware of or failed to read. At least, I don’t recall in vowing to love her in sickness and in health any outline of nursing duties that would come my way if she fell on the ice and broke her right arm…and she’s right-handed.
But, obviously, there was a clause covering this. She did, and the myriad of things I had vowed to do, knowingly or unknowingly, were there to be done. What a learning experience!
Maybe I should have asked my marriage counselor a few more questions. I had no reason to be shy about asking him. He was my pastor, after all, and he doubled as my father. But, at age 18, I was exceptionally trusting and a bit shorter on perception than I became later in life; and, typical of still wet-behind-the-ears youth, I lacked the foresight or understanding that life ahead would not always be smooth sailing. Plus, I was entangled in the throes of romantic young love, which is a bit more blinding to the realities of life than is the mature love that develops and sustains as two people share the good times and bad times of life.
So, what did I miss in that fine print covered by my firm pronouncement, “I do!”?
Some of what I missed was not an issue. Some was expected; some was not. And some is probably best left to your imagination or, at least, not discussed in mixed company. For sure, I can identify one or two things that, if I had one, would be high on my anti-bucket list (the list of things I don’t hope or plan to do before I die), unlike the list many folks call their bucket list of things to achieve before departing this existence.
Rather than offering a specific anti-bucket list, let’s just settle for a mention of some things I have experienced in the past six weeks that I don’t plan on making a habit. A for-sure item on that list is putting her hair in curlers. That was a one-time occurrence during her convalescence and almost assuredly in her or my lifetime. Hair curling for a bald-headed guy is an unpracticed skill. I had to go no further than one curler to realize that hair is not fully cooperative in sticking to the roller and rolling up tightly. It wasn’t more than two or three curlers, one of which I dropped on the floor, into the project before I blurted out, “My guess, dear, is that I will lose my patience before you do.” She chuckled obligingly, but I heard no denial.
Some things went rather smoothly. Quick lessons had me successfully operating the dishwasher, the washer, the dryer, and the vacuum sweeper. In fact, I now have a degree of competence in each of these, as well as an increased appreciation of what she does regularly without the expressed appreciation I should be offering.
Mostly, the dishwasher, clothes washing, and running the dryer occurred without a hitch—one unbalanced washer load rumbling and vibrating the condo like one of the recent earthquakes is not a hitch. For the most part, I kept these duties caught up. However, I got myself involved in a little chore with the vacuum sweeper that may come back to haunt me. In our condo we have a stacked washer-dryer arrangement, and one day I decided to do some vacuuming around the washer-dryer closet, using the extension arrangements on the vacuum cleaner. Then, I noticed the air vents along the ceiling to move air from room to room had collected dust. Tackling that job, I found myself holding the vacuum sweeper up in the air with one hand while I used the other hand to reach up to the vents with the extension device. I ended up doing that in every room. So, why do I think a call will come in the future for me to repeat that feat since she has trouble reaching that high without standing on something?
Some things I will mention only in passing since they are a bit delicate to discuss. You can fill in the blanks. Let’s just say that there is a whole lot more to getting dressed for a woman than a man. I’ll leave it at that except for this brief personal assumption. It had to be a man who invented the clasp system for fastening and unfastening bra straps. A woman would have made it much simpler.
Of key significance is that we survived the six weeks. Yesterday, the doctor said her bone had healed and she could do away with wearing the sling. She survived my nursing, and our marriage is still intact. At least, I have not been informed that I am on the trading block.
Today, the dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer all hummed away, and I didn’t load any of them. Supper is in the oven, and I’m not cooking it. Our household is returning to normal.
However, I think I’ll go say thank you and ask if there is anything I can do.
We all should spend time in our spouse’s shoes, I imagine. It might end a lot of negative ideas and expressions.
Yes, it might create more mutual appreciation.