Saturday, May 21, 2011

the truth about...what jeff would do

Written in October of 2010

Today marks two occasions for me: my 11th wedding anniversary and the final day of my husband’s 10-day business trip to Europe. So I am crawling out of my own skin with loneliness and boredom, of missing him and of fatigue from the responsibility of being the sole parent of 3 daughters. From the build-up of everything, including not having had a proper hug for over a week, which I think would wear on anyone.

I asked my girls last night as I tucked them in after a long day visiting old friends in Rhode Island – another distraction from our house that is missing its papa – to please let me sleep in. “Daddy and I have been married for 11 years!” I congratulated myself as the clock neared midnight, explaining to them that if they would please just let me sleep until 8 a.m., all would be well. After 10 days of bagels in the mornings, tuck-ins and books at night, and everything else that fell in between, it seemed the least they could do.

The morning, quite predictably, began at 6:15 with two out of three climbing into bed with me and proceeding to tap, kick, poke and whisper. I yelled, I begged. I even cried a little. I made deals with the devil, to no avail. I threw myself into my Sunday, my 11th wedding anniversary, a day that is much like any other except I was beginning it with anger.

My husband called, fresh from a shopping trip to the open market in Amsterdam and it was hard to connect. My world – my home, filled with fighting kids and a distinct lack of Zen – was too far removed.

But once I got off the phone and quietly explained to the kids that mommy was reaching her breaking point, I asked myself: WWJD? (What Would Jeff Do?)

One of the legacies of my husband’s love for his daughters involves cranking the iPod from its docking station in the kitchen, music blaring across the whole house. Me? I hate this ritual, one that repeats itself every Sunday morning, sending me out onto the pavement with my running shoes just to avoid the chaos. But the girls love their daddy and their daddy loves loud music and therefore there’s always a lot of love going on when I return, sweaty and cringing from the run and the subsequent noise.

So this morning, when the fighting became too much to bear – the missing him, the empty place in our kitchen where he usually stands, singing at the top of his lungs and dancing with at least one giggling girl – I knew what Jeff would do.

As I sit here, the music is blaring. Within moments of pressing the “On” button, the girls were laughing and working on art projects, sharing the scissors and admiring each others’ work. It was a little bit of daddy magic on a potentially hopeless day.

I love my husband. Every day, every year, and now every decade, I choose him. Over and over again, I choose him to be the one I love, and of all the gifts he’s given me over the years, two stand out to me today: Our daughters, and this reminder of how to bring out the best in them with loud music.

There are two of the reasons I will always choose him.

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