Marriage: mar-ij, noun. That moment in the argument when you realize your spouse is right, and instead of being angry, you’re grateful.
My mom had emergency surgery yesterday. I got the call while I was still in bed, and I didn’t want to move. Getting out of bed would have meant the day was started, and this was real. So my wife asks, “What are you going to do?” Now I have to decide.
“Drive to Wisconsin.” My feet hit the floor and walk toward the shower. She follows.
“How can I help?” Now I have to think.
“Pack an overnight bag?”
She doesn’t answer. She just moves. By the time I’m out of the shower, the bag is packed. Everything I’ll need for a three day visit. As soon as I’m dressed, she hands me the keys and a protein shake, (The good kind, with the blended peanut butter, ice, and banana. Not the nasty chalk water I make for myself when I’m in a hurry.)
“Thank you. It’s good.” And now I have to go.
I hug the kids goodbye. She says something I don’t hear, and gives me a kiss. She and the youngest follow me out to wave I Love You signs at the car as I go. Three taps of the horn and the youngest dances in the driveway because she knows the secret message.
A couple hours disappear, and I look up at a toll booth. I’m an idiot. No cash. No change. No iPass. Is it even possible to get through Chicago without paying tolls? Then I look down and I see it. It’s only when I actually see the iPass that I remember what she said. She knew I’d need it.
A few more hours disappear, and I’m at the hospital. I have a pretty good imagination, but the only thing I can think of that might possibly be worse than watching your mom hurt, really hurt, might be watching your child hurt. I don’t ever want to find out.
She calls, and now I have to talk about it. She asks about the future, and now I have to plan. Talking means thinking. And planning is worse. Planning is thinking twice. And then the argument started. And then I realized I was wrong. That I’d been wrong all day, and she’d been right. Not once, but over and over and over, and I wonder how in the world she does it. And not for the first time this week, I feel really, really lucky.
I don’t have to. I get to. I choose to. I want to. And with her help, I will.