I'll be the first to admit I'm far from the perfect wife, but a couple days ago I put my poor husband in a position he didn't appreciate, and it reminded me of a few scenarios we'd recently had that left him shaking his head in wonder--not the good kind of wonder that means you are fascinated and mesmerized by something awesome--I'm talking about the "I wonder how I ever got myself into this mess" kind of wonder.
It all started a few months ago when I realized we had gained a few extra boarders in our home. Since we moved here a year and a half ago we've had squirrels and birds make their homes temporarily in our garage, and we even found a frog in our basement, but my worst nightmare was finding little gray rodents scurrying about. There' just something about mice I cannot handle. Opening the door into the garage one day, I saw a flash of gray scurry to safety behind our neatly aligned rows of boots (the boots are the only thing about our garage that's neat). My stomach hit my toes as I hoped I was just having an illusion. No such luck. The next couple of days my husband pointed obvious signs of the little creatures in our unfinished basement. Ugh! I was immediately scared to go downstairs or into the garage. I demanded he get rid of them asap and we called a neighbor to borrow some mouse traps. My fear turned into the dread of finding a dead mouse, or even worse, hearing one get snapped in a trap.
One night while lying in bed, I was awakened by a little scratching noise I heard in the corner of the bedroom. Oh great! There's a mouse in my bedroom. You have got to be kidding me, I screamed inside my head. Just go back to sleep. Don't think. Don't move. Just pretend there's not a mouse nibbling on your slippers. Go to sleep. The mouse won't hurt you. I rolled over and put a pillow over my head. That 's when I realized I needed to go to the bathroom. Great! What was I going to do now? I tried my best to ignore the urge, but to no avail. After tossing and turning again and again, it became obvious I was not going to get any more sleep until I made a trip to the bathroom. But I could still hear the mouse.
What to do. What to do.
I looked over at Dan, sleeping peacefully. I hated to wake him, but . . . the scratching noise continued. This was a matter of life and death. I weighed my options and realized I had no choice.
"Dan," I hissed. No response. "Dan, wake up. I need you to go to the bathroom with me."
Finally a response. "You're kidding, right?"
I wasn't kidding. "Please, honey. I have to go really bad, but there's a mouse in here, and I'm too scared to go by myself."
"You're a lot bigger than the mouse, ya know. What are you afraid of?"
It was a fair question, so I gave it an equally fair answer. "I don't know."
How could I tell him I was worried one was going to run over my foot or nibble my toes or something? It sounded utterly ridiculous. My obedient husband stumbled out of bed and kept watch at the bathroom door. I heard the scratching noise again as we snuggled back in and couldn't help but be pleased with myself, knowing I had out-smarted the little creature. I listened for a while and thought how funny it was that the mouse only made noise when the heat came on. That is one tricky mouse, I thought. It was then I noticed a balloon floating near the ceiling. As I watched the balloon it became obvious that it was the reason for the scratching noise. I glanced over to see if Dan had noticed it, too, but thankfully he was already sawing logs again. I rolled over and sheepishly fell back to sleep, grateful to know there was no mouse in my bedroom after all, only a balloon that scratched against the ceiling every time the heat came on and blew it upwards. I decided to wait until morning to spill the news to my husband--no sense waking him twice for no reason.
Then, there was a night recently when I talked him into pulling into the McDonald's drive-thru so I could spoil myself with a hot fudge sundae. Doing his best to please me, he pulled right in and ordered. As we discussed how it was possible for the tax on a $.99 sundae to be a whopping nine cents, the man working at the window handed us our ice cream. I couldn't help but immediately notice a lot of white in my sundae cup, which meant a lot of vanilla ice cream--something I detested. I turned the cup around in my hands and shook my head in disgust as Dan started pulling away from the window.
Then I began complaining.
Dan listened as long as he could stand, then stopped the van and asked, "What do you want me to do, back up and ask for more hot fudge?" I'm sure he thought I would answer to the contrary, but I eyed my vanilla sundae once again and found myself saying, "Yes."
Realizing he had made a grave mistake, he followed with, "You're serious?" He hoped I would change my mind, but there was no turning back now. I was not one to take my food back; in fact, I normally would have thrown it away before going back, but I had my heart set on that hot fudge, and since he seemed willing, I decided to get my full $1.08 worth out of my sundae.
I nodded and he backed up, all the while shaking his head, saying, "This is not going to become a habit. I will not do this again." I assured him it wouldn't happen again, then ducked my head as he asked for more fudge.
We couldn't help but giggle as we drove away. Dan was laughing because he couldn't believe I'd actually talked him into doing that, and I was chuckling because the hot fudge was dripping down my chin, tasting just as good as I had imagined, and I hadn't even had to embarrass myself to get it!
Finally, a couple of nights ago, I went to see a movie with some friends--Marley and Me. Much to my dismay I cried like a baby at the end. Actually, sob would be a more accurate word. As I wiped the tears dripping from my chin, I found myself being thankful the lights were off. The ironic part was that I was sobbing over a dog dying when I am far from a pet lover. In fact, I won't even consider a dog in our home, or any other pet for that matter--not even a goldfish. But that movie got to me, and as I watched those little children bury that dog, I was touched to the core.Still feeling the effects of the movie, I came home and climbed into bed beside my sleeping husband. I must have felt the need to talk about my feelings because I roused him and started rehearsing details about the movie. Before I knew it, I was bawling again. I was sure Dan was asleep but I couldn't stop rambling about how much I love our kids and how fast they are growing. "I can't even remember when Hallee was little," I sniffled. "I mean, she's only nine and I can't remember her being three. Before we know it she'll be in college and getting married." I was pretty sure Dan wasn't listening any more, but I couldn't stop. On and on I went about each child and what I loved about them and how grateful I was to be home with them every day.
Finally, just when I was winding down, Dan sat up in bed and said, "My forehead is wet. Why is my forehead wet?" Apparently my tears had been falling on his head.
"Oops," I said as I blew my nose one last time and settled in under the covers. I decided to skip chastising him for not listening to my blubbering for the past half hour.
As he rolled over to go back to sleep, it was my turn to wonder. I wonder how he ever learned to be so patient. I wonder if he'll still be glad he married me in ten more years. I wonder . . .