I spent two hours preparing a dozen breakfast and lunch detox shakes for my husband and me. We are our mirrors. I hope, after three days of these “meals” (making the dinner shakes tomorrow) to look a bit like the ladies JT dances with, sort of, in this fine video. (I’m kidding. I want only to look like the beautiful silver-haired widow, after another 50 or so years with my detox partner.) Check out JT. It’s worth the 8 minutes. Well, it was worth 8 of my minutes.
My husband turned in before me last night; today he had meetings pretty much all day long and they were the kind of meetings that required a weekend’s worth of extra preparation. He was beat. About 45 minutes later, I walked across the house only to see what can quaintly be described as a “Palmetto Bug.” These horrifying things are also known as “giant flying cockroaches.” We’ve had a lot of rain, and when that happens, one of these monsters can find its way into our home. (It happens maybe once a year.)
I did what was unfortunately very natural to me, and called out to my husband. He shot out of bed, opened the bedroom door, and the monster crawled right into our room, past my husband’s feet and under our bed. I exclaimed:
“It’s big, it’s huge, the bug! It’s under our bed, ummmm…” My exhausted and now irritated spouse looked around, couldn’t see it and said:
“Well, I don’t know what I can do. I’m going to bed.”
He closed the door, and went to bed with the monster in our room.
I froze. I needed to brush my teeth and take out my disposable contact lenses that last for two weeks, but I actually considered opening up one of the kids’ spare toothbrushes in their bathroom, throwing out the contacts a week early, and sleeping in the guest room myself. But then, in the morning, my husband would leave early and I’d still need to go into our room and what would I do then?
Minutes went by. My heart was racing and I felt like I had tunnel vision. Fight or flight.
(Yes: this is horribly embarrassing.)
I grabbed my phone (to use as a flash light) and went into our room. I had the light on outside our room too, which shined right into my husband’s face. I crept in and he asked what I was doing. I kept repeating, over and over, “It’s really big. It’s in here. I… I know, I’m insane. I’m sorry. I just can’t….” I don’t really even know what I was saying.
My seriously annoyed husband got out of bed and told me he’d sleep in the guest room, leaving me there, alone with the monster. I crept toward our bathroom. There it was! On the ceiling near the shower. It flew down and into a corner by the toilet. I screamed and ran to the other side of the room.
(Yes, I screamed, at 11:30 at night, because that’s absolutely helpful in a situation like this.)
I called out, woefully, “Honey? It’s in the bathroom….”
And my hero, he returned. He brought with him a roll of paper towel. He went into the bathroom, looked around, couldn’t see it. He reminded me, “I need to get to sleep.”
I sweetly suggested that he look behind the toilet. (I can’t believe myself, I know, I know…)
It was no where to be found. He almost gave up. But then, there it was, on the ceiling again. He reached for it, it flew at him, and he ushered it into the toilet and flushed.
“There. It went down the drain.”
He got into bed. I flushed the toilet again. And again.
And we went to sleep.
I’m an excellent wife, and utterly useless in certain situations. This guy I’m married to? I just barely deserve him.
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.