We’re a team (or one of many reasons I love my husband)

There’s no better spouse
Than he who sacrifices
His sleep for his wife’s

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In 2005 my husband became a (mostly) full-time stay at home dad. There were some very tough times (for me at least) as I adjusted to this, which are the subject of a separate posting. Today, I want to talk about a moment where my affection for my husband spilled from me and I truly came to appreciate what we were doing as parents and partners.

I was at work, and got a call that I needed to have a senior executive I worked with video-taped for a big meeting. I needed to write the script, find a quiet location, tape him and get it sent off by noon (I think it was 10am). I didn’t have a camera, a script, nothing (this was 4 years ago, before every handheld device was a decent video camera).

So I called my husband… the man who has every electronic device. 

“Help! I’m sorry to bother you, but I really need your help!!” I said frantically. “I know you have a ton of things to do today, but I really need you to bring our video camera to work – make sure there is a fresh tape – I have to do a video of Mr. X in the next 90 minutes. Really, I’m sorry to bother you, I’m sure you have a lot you need to do, but I don’t know what to do!?!”  My voice petered off, sheepishly.

Frank simply said  “Honey, don’t worry. We’re a team. I’ll be right there.”

I didn’t know what to say. I was stunned. The phrase “we’re a team” was one I don’t think I’d heard him say before, and at that moment it was the most perfect thing he could have said.  It meant we were in this together, that he had my back, that he supported me regardless, that I needn’t feel guilty about interrupting his plans for the day, that together we would sort this out. And vice versa.

Here I was worried that I was somehow throwing off his day – worse, being a nuisance — and he settled once and for all that what we did, we did together, for the betterment of both.

To this day, 4 years later, that continues to be a defining moment for me as the single breadwinner of this family. The humanity in that phrase, spoken by a man who was still exploring what it meant to be a stay at home dad, overwhelmed me.

I recalled this moment while watching the move Secretariat. The main character, Peggy, was a housewife who found herself a racehorse owner, trying to evolve herself into a working woman while maintaining a family, often half a country away. There is a heart breaking scene where she is in a hotel room, her flight having been canceled, listening to her eldest daughter perform in a play over the phone.  She lies down on the bed, her hand over her mouth, weeping while she listens. I’ve been there – it was painful to watch. The difference is in that movie, her husband was a jerk about her success as working woman until the last 15 minutes of the movie, whereas my husband has never once been anything less than supportive of my path.

I am grateful to him and for him. I think he is a special breed of man, and more are out there. I couldn’t do what I do without him.  Do working dads out there, whose wives stay at home, feel the same way about their partners?  Do the wives see themselves as part of a team? I don’t know. I sure hope so.

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