Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Best Husband Ever...

My friend and fellow blogging babe Candace is holding a contest that I entered today. ( And since I figured it would be a shame to keep a good essay about a great guy to myself (and to her empirical decision of the top six entries) I figured I'd post my entry here:

My cute and adorable husband lives by a philosophy that I believe makes him a hands-down winner in any husband contest. After a few, short years of marriage, when I became a stay-at-home mom, he told me that he believes my job in the home is just as important as his job outside of the home, and that since we both spend our days working, when he gets home we’re even. He claims he doesn’t understand men who think they have the right to sit around in the evening while their wives continue working. The minute he walks in the door he jumps in with dinner preparations, laundry, dishes, homework assistance—whatever still needs doing. He has continued with that practice for all 25 years of our marriage, despite three facts that should get him off the hook: 1) all of our children are now in school. 2) much of my “working” day consists of writing stories that thus far have made no nominal contribution to the family budget. And 3) I’m a dreadful housekeeper who obviously doesn’t sweat much during her “work day”.

This would be enough to make him a keeper, but he doesn’t stop there. He was my rock and head cheerleader when I decided to go back to college at the age of 39, despite knowing that the financial cost of earning my journalism degree would never be returned. He’s been by my side through multiple illnesses and surgeries. When I had open-heart surgery months after the birth of our fourth child, he took on the role of nurse to me, and mother to our four little ones ages seven and under, without a single complaint. Any time I have been in a position to select a new course in life, he’s been there to encourage me to do the thing that will please me most, even if it isn’t the most convenient thing for him.

Best of all, he has a quiet sense of humor, and a gentleness that never falters. I can honestly say that in our 25 years of marriage he has never so much as raised his voice at me. My littlest son recently observed my oldest daughter and her husband playfully pretending to fight over something, and he said “Why are you fighting? You’re married!” Imagine that, despite my growing up in a home that fought more often than it didn’t, I have an eight-year-old who has grown up thinking married couples never fight. Believe me, I can’t take credit for that.

My Robert is not flashy or wealthy (though he is terribly handsome). He has worked in the same non-glamorous job for the past 20 years, and has never failed to be a good provider for our family. We don’t take fancy vacations, he doesn’t drive a sports car or wear designer clothes, and he doesn’t buy me expensive jewelry. But he loves me and our children immeasurably. He does bring me flowers, often for no reason other than he senses I need a boost, even though he considers them a waste of money, just because he knows they’ll make me happy. Sometimes I have to be careful before asking for a favor, because I know he’ll do it, no matter how much of a hardship.

That’s my man – my boyfriend, my best friend, my rock.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

And the Winner Is...

As expected, new opportunities are starting to present themselves (Yeah! I can put off cleaning that closet for at least one more week!) I received a new unofficial church calling - unofficial because it came from the ward music director instead of the bishop. We're not sure exactly if it's legitimate, but I'm not going to ask too many questions unless I get fired.

The story starts several months ago with our previous ward music director who decided to start a youth choir. No one asked her to, she just did it as part of her calling because, as she told me, it gave her the "youth fix" that she needed. It was a big hit - about 60 kids in the first performance. (Yes, we have a gigantor ward) But as happens when you do your job too well, she was put into a leadership position, namely primary president. She really wanted to keep doing the choir, but it proved too much, so she asked the new music director to keep it going.

So guess who she called? Yep, little 'ol me. I admit I might have dropped a hint about how fun that would be when I talked to her about the choir's next performance for the ward bulletin. But it's not like I forced her to call me.

As I told my daughter, if the bishop had asked what I'd like to do next when he released me, I would have said, "Well Bishop, leading that youth choir looks really nice." So maybe Karma is finding me after all.

Here's the deal about leading a choir: I lead one a while back, and decided right away that this was the perfect job for me. It basically requires waving your arms in rhythm to the music, which is absolutely the best use of my musical abilities (notice I don't say talent, having rhythm is the only talent that comes naturally to me. Remind me to tell you some time about the time I played a piano solo and asked the congregation to leave so I could get through it. I mean, I literally got up to the microphone and asked them to leave. And that's after about 100 years of lessons.)

But this arm waving thing--I can so do that. And better still, I get to do it with my back to the audience, while MOUTHING the words. I don't even have to worry about staying on pitch. And the best part is, I get to make faces at the choir to get them to sing louder. It is so absolutely fun...well, assuming you don't get carried away and fall off the podium like a doofus. But that's yet another story for another day. Anyway, now I get to make those faces at those young women that I've been missing. And if I do fall, well, hopefully they'll have my back.

Friday, October 5, 2007

New Chapter

Writing a life story is kind of a tricky thing. One never wants to write it while right in the middle of it, that's like writing a novel with no ending. But if one waits too long...well, obviously there's a point where it's too late.

So, assuming I get the timing right and manage to sneak mine in before I die, there would be periods of time that would naturally be headed under different chapters. For instance, there would be the Newlywed Years, the Huge-Bellied-What's-My-Name-Again?-Baby-Years, the Lost-In-a-Fog-And-Oh-Yeah-I-Remember-You're-My-Husband-Years, the Where-Did-All-These-Hormonal-Teenagers-Come-From?-Years. I'm not sure exactly what the years I've just had will be entitled (maybe The Nest Starts to Empty?) or what the next will be, but I'm sensing a new chapter is about to start.

Like most people, for years now my days have been filled with a variety of activities that keep pretty much every hour filled. When any one project ends, another is soon found to fill in the gap. Or sometimes one has to be dropped, or postponed, because another has become all-consuming. All those activities weave together kind of like a quilt. They don't usually all come to an end at the same time.

But until recently, I've been: my girl's yearbook advisor - they're done at that school; Young women's counselor - finished; building a house - built, and I won't be doing that again while the housing market's in a coma; an at-home auditor, well, not quite as recently, the company was sold last year; a wedding planner - all involved living happily ever after, with no future brides or grooms coming of age for several years; star of stage and screen - that was a fluke and will require a long recuperation period.

I'm enjoying the time off, and there are plenty of small projects that that could still use my attention (like finding the answer to the elusive question: what is the color of the carpet in my bedroom closet?)

But I've decided, while hanging out around the house the past week or so, that one of my biggest fears in life is not being able to fill in the blank to the following statement: "Please excuse the mess, I've just been so busy with ________________."

So there's my motivation. I've got to get started on that new chapter soon so that it doesn't become "The Cleaning Years." Ugh. Not that I have anything against a clean house - just having it as my top priority - well, not in my life story.

So I'll keep you posted.