It is a matter of pride with me that the refrigerator is always stocked with my husband’s favorite brand of orange juice, and that the bathroom cupboard has a full complement of his beloved Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap and that absurdly expensive Eau Sauvage stick deodorant. I make fresh lemonade every weekend in the summer (a seriously labor-intensive process); in winter the freezer is lined with individual serving-size containers of homemade peasant soup. Not to put too fine a point on it, I wait on this guy hand and foot.
In the interest of full disclosure, where he far outscores me (I keep score; he doesn’t) is in the generosity-of-spirit part of the marriage (which some might argue carries a higher degree of difficulty than dropping shirts off at the laundry). Take both kids to school so I can sleep a few extra minutes? Sure, he’ll do it. Go willingly with me to my 20th high school reunion, where, for five hours, he’ll have to listen to people he barely knows tell stories about people he hasn’t met? Of course. By contrast, when he asked me to accompany him to his college reunion–let the record show that I’d already been to three previous ones–I responded as I would to a root canal: Fine, if I’m sedated. Read the rest of this entry »
I called her Potinka. It’s a silly name, I know, and I don’t even remember how it came into being. I can only tell you that as time went by, it seemed to perfectly describe this elfin child with a squinty grin and tinkling giggle.
She entered our lives in February 2000; my wife and I lived in Indianapolis then with our son Graig. Roughly nine months earlier, my son and his new girlfriend, Jessica, had gone off to Chicago to celebrate his 22nd birthday, a celebration spent largely–as he later told it–in bed. Just days after returning, they had a terrible fight, the first of far too many. Jessica took off. They made an effort to patch things up via telephone, but each call ended in an angry hang up, and they soon lost touch.
Until one September day when we arrived home to find a note taped to the door. It read: “Graig, you are going to have a daughter. See you in court.” My wife, Kathy, could not let it go at that, and took a personal hand in bringing about a reconciliation between Graig and Jessica. Sure enough, within a month she’d persuaded the two of them to move in together nearby, so they could cultivate some basic sense of partnership before the blessed event. Read the rest of this entry »