A child of the '80s, one of the first cultural buzz phrases I can remember is "women's lib". I didn't really know what that meant, but over time it seemed to mean that my future husband should help with the housework. At least that's the basic feminist expectation I took with me into the '90s which saw me married. It's an expectation that has not been realized.
I've spent the last decade-and-a-half trying to make my marriage look like what I envisioned all those years ago. I've ebbed between nagging, anger, pouting, and defeat - with nothing to show for it. Every once in a while, though, my husband surprises me. Every once in a while, when our four children need new clothes, he takes them all to the store and gets them some.
This is not a task I'm capable of doing without serious care and thought taken first. I need organization, planning, and plenty of lead time to allow for procrastination. I need quiet and concern surrounding me as I calculate the perfect ratio of pants to shirts. I need little people to realize that I know what Thrifty means and if they would only trust me, instead of having a limb-flopping crying-filled tantrum in the middle of the store, we could get through the trip without much ado. But somehow these things I need are never supplied, and so the chore remains unfinished.
My husband, however, has no problem with children running through the clothes racks as he helps one of them pick out shirts. He doesn't mind spending money on quality name brand shoes, because after all, that's what he would want for himself if he was suddenly six years old again. He doesn't notice the child tornado that surrounds and moves with him as he goes from store to store. It is thus that the clothes shopping gets done.
As the family sweeps into the house with their bags of purchases, balloons and snacks in hand, I stand by and wonder, "how does he do that?" I watch him carefully for signs that he needs a rest, but there are none. I listen as he cheerfully goes over the bargains he found and prides himself on the outfits he put together for everyone. I stand by in silent admiration as this man that can't be bothered to lift a finger in the kitchen tells me how he did this chore for me because he knows how much I hate clothes shopping.
Just when I think he doesn't hear me, or care, or feel concern, he turns the table on me and takes me by surprise. He shows me love in an unexpected way. He reminds me that he has his own strengths - and suddenly all is forgiven.
Now, who is going to help me put all these clothes away?