Today is Q’s and my thirteenth wedding anniversary.
I made a joke in my card to Q. that of course it would be unlucky thirteen where we were celebrating during a pandemic. We usually do the traditional gifts, but this year’s selection (lace) utterly defeated me, and I ended up just saying to Q. in the card that at some point in the future, when we felt comfortable going into stores again, I would get him new shoes (which would have laces on them, get it?).
In the meantime, I’d arranged for my Mum (and my aunt, because she is still living with my Mum) to come in to babysit the kids for a couple of hours (since they’re in our social circle) so I could take Q. out for a surprise, gluten-free, contactless pick up dinner from a Mexican restaurant we discovered late last year. There’s a park nearby, so we could sit and eat our takeaway and have one meal where we weren’t interrupted constantly by our children.
That wouldn’t usually be a big thing, but after 108 days without a break from the kids (not that I’m counting), it seemed huge.
At lunch we were discussing the plans for the afternoon. I said, “Also, we have to decide when we want to do presents” and a look of ABJECT PANIC crossed his face.
He had absolutely no idea it was today. Wasn’t on his radar at all.
Q. is normally the one who comes up with the best presents on the annual theme, so this is very out of character for him and speaks volumes (I think) about his general mental state after 108 days without a break from the kids. He’s been fielding literally hundreds of messages from his sisters, who are trying to organize a present for his mother, who is having a significant birthday next week, and he told me he’d been thinking about my birthday (which is next month), and, as he said, “I just forgot there was another one before that”.
After lunch, I put the laundry up on the line outside to dry, and then drove downtown to pick up our bulk alcohol order, which I’d placed last night (I had to drive to a location I wouldn’t normally use because they had Q’s gluten-free beer in stock.). While waiting for the clerk to bring out my (embarrassingly large – hopefully we won’t need to go back to the store until October) order, I overheard someone in the line at the other side of the store commenting on the approaching thunderstorm.
I pulled out my phone and checked the weather app. There was supposed to be a brief period of rain around 3 p.m., with total rainfall of no more than 0.1 mm. Barely a shower.
Right, I thought. I can get home before 3 and get in the washing if it looks threatening.
As I drove home the raindrops started to fall. By the time I turned onto our street, it was genuinely pouring (long before 3 p.m., I might add), and I’d resigned myself to leaving the washing on the line, as it would already be soaked through.
I pulled onto our parking pad, looked into the backyard, and breathed a sigh of relief.
There was no washing on the line.
I ran through the downpour to get inside and found Q. in the kitchen, just finishing arranging all of the laundry on the drying rack.
THAT’S why I married him.
I don’t need presents.
I don’t need cards.
Now, more than ever, what I need most of all is a partner. Someone who tag teams with me when our kids vomit. Someone who pushes the car through snowdrifts so I can get to work. Someone who notices when the sky turns threatening and remembers that there is laundry on the line that might need to be rescued.
Someone who has spent half of every single workday with the kids since we locked down in March because he believes that my work matters as much as his does.
I’m only not drowning because we’re treading water together, both of us keeping our little family afloat in this wild, chaotic, uncertain time.