wives well loved

Love and Presidents: The Difference Between Michelle and Ann : The New Yorker, by Amy Davidson. It’s fascinating.

Here’s all I can say with certainty: a candidate’s wife has a tough job to do. She’s got to try to be relatable, while talking up her husband, who by definition has the intelligence, ambition, and ego to want to run the free world. How many of us likely voters out there have a partner like that? How many of us likely voters with a partner could do that job?

Both of these women are undoubtedly excellent wives, excellent mothers, and make excellent First Ladies (one of a nation, one of a Commonwealth). They are proud of their husbands, they are thrilled to raise children with their husbands, they want you to love their husbands as much as they love them. And vote.

They are political wives.

The life Mrs. Obama described sounded familiar to me. Growing up and seeing a parent, in pain but working hard, with pride. Marrying a man who wants more for his community, and from a pretty early age, went out and got it. (Did I mention my spouse was a Peace Corps volunteer?) Putting your career on hold so that you could raise the children while your husband pursued a tremendously demanding career. A 40-year-old friend of mine posted on facebook, “When I grow up I want to be Michelle Obama.” Our current First Lady? She connects.

Mrs. Romney and I both have had the good fortune of not needing to work outside the home. Given the cost of college educations for our children and the amount of savings necessary for even a modest retirement, I, however, will need return to work. But for all her talk of success, Mrs. Romney didn’t convey herself as an aspirational role model. Specifically because I don’t know how one  aspires to be well-born and marry well. Massachusetts’ former First Lady? She seems like a very nice lady.

I’ve said that being a corporate wife means I’m lucky, and it means I wait. Perhaps that applies to political wives, too.

These two women are both very lucky–lucky to have strong marriages and enviable love for and from their husbands. But Mrs. Obama didn’t start out lucky. Mrs. Romney did.

I imagine Mrs. Romney can wait a little longer.

by any other name

So the latest news on the relocation front: we should have clarity in a couple of months about moving at the beginning of 2013.

Since we’ve already done so much advance work on relocating our children (passports, school applications, selection, and admission,  immunizations, and even purchasing some winter coats) I can now focus more on that weird in-between emotion. I don’t know of a word for it: the feeling that lies exactly between wistfulness and excitement.

I really like our life here. We have friends, a community, a nice little routine. We’re a plane ride away from family, but we’ve always been a plane ride away from most of our family, even before my husband and I met and had children. (There were six years where we lived in the same town as my sister’s family. I loved that.)

And I love our home. It surprises me sometimes, that I love it. Generally I try not to get too attached, since I know that upon setting up house in any given spot, we’ll likely leave in a few years, but I do love the vibe of this house. Its order, its light, its sounds… It flows. It’s not too big, it’s not too small. It’s literally just right.

But moving–starting over fresh, in a brand new European place with clean lines and lots of light (I’m online a lot, reviewing rental options), with efficient use of space, with easy access to all of Europe, a top-notch bilingual education for the children, general safety and security, intrinsic beauty–it’s intoxicating.

Well. I love and cherish what I have and I look forward to more.

The word for what I’m feeling, between wistfulness and excitement? It’s greed.


It’s time for this corporate wife to clean her current home thoroughly. Hard work and a toilet brush do wonders for a greedy mind.

Our house is very, very clean.