My husband has been home all week, since last Friday in fact. I’ve realised that I’ve become so used to him NOT being there, that I forgot how much I love having him around. And yes, it is absolutely about having an extra pair of hands to DO THINGS, and not the romanticism of having my husband around to whisper sweet nothings in my ear.
I’ve only just discovered that one of the love languages I respond really well to is acts of service. But wait. Not ME performing acts of service, but having acts of service done unto me! Now before you call me narcissistic, selfish and self centred, let me explain…
My husband has always been hands on. He cooks, cleans, baths/feeds/wakes up for children, ET CETERA ET CETERA. You name it, he does it. The only thing he can’t do and won’t do is brush Hannah’s hair. I’m a feminist, and while this word has many meanings, I am referring to it here in the context that I believe men and women are equal and both can and must undertake to do anything they so wish, across the “excuse” of gender. So I EXPECTED that my husband one day would play as equal a part as me in the home. Yes, as a mother and woman, the nurturing and making our “house a home” does fall more on my shoulders, but this does not exclude my husband from fully engaging in tasks once considered “the woman’s job.” Luckily, his mother raised him well and he lived on his own from the time he left school, so I got myself a very self sufficient man 🙂 (truth be told, he even irons better than I do.) So my point is that I wasn’t blown away about how hands on my husband was, I expected it. And because of this, perhaps I took it for granted (insert sheepish, ashamed little face here).
When he left to work away from home, I found the adjustment very difficult obviously for the reasons stated above. But as one does in these situations, you pick yourself up and get on with what needs to be done. Without making light of death, divorce or single parent homes by comparing my situation to these earth shattering ones, I must say that I felt pretty much like a single mother who had recently lost her better half. But it was OK, we still saw/see him every weekend, it’s not the end of the world, right. Chin up.
But having him home this week, I’ve realised what a HUGE difference it makes having that extra pair of hands willing to SERVE in the house. Having supper ready when you get home in the evenings, getting someone else to drop and fetch and carry the kids, playing tag with taking time off work to get the kids to the doctor (Liam needed the doctor this morning and I didn’t need to take him). Having someone else to clean up spilt juice for the 100th time in one day. Having someone to fix stuff around the house, stuff you are quite capable of fixing but never find the time to actually fix. All these things: having a partner to do all of this is amazing and wonderful.
And then… it’s the fluffy stuff that I’ve discovered I really and truly miss. And honestly, THIS is the real stuff. All that stuff I mentioned in the last paragraph can go fly a kite, I’d do those things myself for the rest of my life if I had to, because I can. But the fluffy stuff.. it’s the fluffy stuff that really makes a difference, it’s the fluffy stuff that makes me love my husband so much, it’s the fluffy stuff that acts as the glue that holds us together. And so I guess when I said it’s the extra pair of hands in my opening paragraph, I lied… because it is truly the romanticism that I’ve missed, and NO it’s not what you think. My fluffy stuff, the stuff that I’ve only just realised speaks to my heart in a language I love goes something like this:
- Having a cup of tea / coffee / Milo prepared for me without asking for it.
- Getting into my car and seeing that he filled the tank, when I was expecting it to be negative because I forgot to fill up the last time I drove.
- Exchanging ridiculous amounts of whatsapp messages discussing what we should have for dinner.
- Love notes in my packed lunch.. and FOUR slices of bread, even though I tell him every time that I ONLY eat TWO slices of bread and he tells me NO NO YOU ARE GETTING WAY TO SKINNY SO EAT FOUR PLEASE (and I eat the four slices – this man is a feeder.)
- Chuckles. Bags of Chuckles. I think we keep Woolworths in business with the amount of Chuckles my husband buys for me. I find them randomly and when I’m not looking for them and there’s not ONE person I know who doesn’t get excited about finding random chocolate. It’s like finding a R20 in the jacket you haven’t worn in ages.
- Not running out of stuff. Seriously, this makes me so happy. When the toilet paper is mysteriously and miraculously restocked in the cupboard (even though he battles with replacing the roll next to the toilet itself). When he stocks up the kids’ vitamins and medicine chest so that I never have to worry about it. When he fills the veggie draw with potatoes and onions and tomatoes and makes sure there’s fruit for the week. Yes, this is fluffy for me because I run out of day to day stuff ALL THE TIME, and he knows there is nothing more frustrating to me than running out of necessities in the house.
- Someone to tell you how wonderful you are. I’ve professed it many times on this blog, I LOVE affirmation. I LIVE for affirmation. I love it when he tells me how good I look, how great that meal was, how he likes my hair like that, how good I am with our kids. It may seem ridiculous to look for outward affirmation when I know my self worth, I know who I am in Christ and blah blah blah, but nothing makes me feel prouder than having MY HUSBAND’s pride. Not just anyone’s, but his. And this week with him being home, I forgot how forthcoming he is with praise, he really is. My head may BURST from the pressure of growing so big this week with all the praise I’d gotten used to NOT receiving in his absence.
- RAK – his Random Acts of Kindness. For me and the kids. This goes above him making cups of tea and seeing to the children’s needs. He is not a flowers-delivered-to-my-desk type of guy, which I complain about allllll the time. He is more the kind that will see me eye a jacket in the shop, will go out and buy it without me knowing and dump it in its packet with price tag still attached on my lap when I get in the car (he is NOT romantic at all, more PRACTICAL which I’ve learned to work with).
- He is not a words type of guy. I am a words type of gal. So initially, when I got over hearing only my own voice in the relationship, I thought this was definitely going to be the deal breaker. But I stuck around. I got used to RAKs instead of words. And I can’t tell you how happy I am that I held on. I’ve come to realise that while I love and live for words, the old cliché is true, most times (and almost always) actions DO speak louder than words. He has proved this to me.
This is not a dedication or a love letter to him. He doesn’t read here at all, he isn’t a words type of guy, remember. I’m just sharing the revelation I received this week on how important the fluffy stuff really is. Don’t overlook or take the fluffy stuff for granted, like I sometimes do. Consider this a reminder to value your partner EVEN IF they don’t tick ALL of your boxes. With my husband working away, I’ve had ALL my boxes removed and believe me I’ve learned that I’d rather have some boxes than none at all. Furthermore, I’ve discovered that because our “boxes” are different, it doesn’t mean that mine are better or more important than his. So this is a challenge, I dare you to find the fluffy stuff in your relationship and work on cultivating it from today.