A Spouseless Weekend

As my husband joyfully sings and melodiously whistles while packing I can’t help but feel a little resentful. He is going away for an all-boys weekend and is going to be camping, hiking, canoeing and rafting. Activities that I normally hate but in this moment they all look so much more attractive than taking care of two kids and being home.

I look at him wistfully and try to send some telepathic messages about how insanely jealous I am of him but all it does is make him sing louder and whistle more annoyingly. I give up.

I quietly go down to the den and try to calm myself about the upcoming situation. Normally I wouldn’t be too worried. I’m really a hands-on mom. I’m the one who tells my husband how anything should be done around the house and the kids. I didn’t expect to feel so nervous. But I am nervous and a little ashamed to admit to myself that I need him so much to parent through the weekend.

Because I won’t lie to you. He’s a great assistant. He listens to me and follows through a hundred percent. He takes the kids out when I want to nap and brings back ice cream for me. He makes sure I don’t have to do the dishes after we finish dinner over the weekends and gets to them faster than lightning. He can read my mind. On most occasions. Except today. Today he’s thinking about his trip selfishly and not really getting my quiet disapproval of his plans.

I go up to the family room. He comes down the staircase beaming. His happiness is palpable. My fury at being left alone with the kids is blazing through me but not quite reaching him.

Since I’m not the type of person who would ever interfere in how others live their lives, I casually ask,

“So when are you coming back?”

“Coming back? What do you mean?”

“You were planning to come back, weren’t you?”, I ask snappily.

“Oh Monday”, he says with a frown.

“You look like my question upset you. It’s a perfectly legitimate question to ask. Why’re you upset?”

“I’m not upset”.

“Then why’re you frowning?”

“Well because I haven’t even left yet and you’re worried about Monday”.

“So I shouldn’t even ask you when you’d be back when you’re setting off to trot the globe?”

“Trot the globe?”, he says incredulously. “We are just going to a neighboring town to camp for two nights”.

“It’s not two nights”, I carry on stubbornly. “It’s Friday tonight and you’re coming back Monday. You can count how many nights”.

He looks hurt and I regret saying anything immediately. I could’ve held my tongue except I’m on a roll now.

“When do I get to go out, huh? I never go out. We never do anything as a family together. What we do is always the grocery store or a stupid movie or pizza night at home. You don’t care about making memories with us. You have planned this whole long weekend with your friends to make tons of darn memories but when do you invest that type of love, care and preparation in anything you do for us?”

My husband is now looking half baffled at where this is coming from and half ready to enter this fight with facts. But then he thinks better of it and forfeits this one.

“Hey kids! I’m out. See you Monday”.

The kids run to him and he showers them with kisses and hugs and leaves. He doesn’t say goodbye to me.

“Well we don’t need him”. I tell the kids imperiously.

My oldest who’s the nicer one immediately agrees and says, “We don’t, Mommy. We will make our own darn memories”.

Oh, great! They learned another curse word.

I carry my five month pregnant belly into the kitchen and ask the kids what they’d like to do. Immediately my youngest, who is so like me in physicality and temperament pipes up,

“I’d like to go to the trampoline park”.

Huh? Bad idea ever giving them a choice or a wide range of options. Don’t I learn anything from my life?

“Err…… may be something else”.

“The beach?”, my oldest offers helpfully.

“No. It’s too hot”.

“Grandma’s?”

“Well”, I quietly debate with myself about it. Before the term “Grandma” confuses you, they’re referring to their paternal grandmother, my husband’s mother and my mother-in-law.

Against my better judgment, I find myself knocking on my mother-in-law’s door about an hour later.

Now my mother-in-law is a great person, just not a huge fan of me. Her disapproval of my housekeeping skills, my parenting skills, my self grooming skills, my cooking skills is constant and worsening. So you can imagine why I wouldn’t be very happy to see her usually but because she usually helps me out with the kids, I thought I could nap for a while and she could watch my kids.

But as soon as I tell MIL that my husband is away for a weekend trip with his friends, she becomes concerned.

My MIL is one of those people who hardly ever filter their thoughts before they become words. She has a knack for saying the most dreaded thoughts that would be circulating in your head. She is telepathic in my opinion. My husband thinks she just knows how morbidly busy and worried my mind is.

Had another person heard that my husband was away for the weekend they would have made a casual observation and embellished it with a double-entendre like “Oh how nice of him! Who wants to deal with kids and a pregnant wife?” Or “Really? Doesn’t he know that you’re pregnant and your kids are really young?”. Or “If my husband did that my lawyer would be talking to him”. But not my mother-in-law. She immediately analyzes this situation like a criminal investigator.

“Your husband left for the weekend to be with his friends? While you’re pregnant? Did you two have a fight?”

I used to be stumped by this line of questioning when I was younger but now I can almost predict her questions and so I am ready for this one.

“No”.

“Hmm. So he was perfectly happy with you when he left?”

Now how can I answer this one truthfully without telling her the truth about our argument when he was leaving.

“Well, I wouldn’t say he was PERFECTLY happy. I mean what is perfectly happy anyway? He was just as happy as people normally are when they’re going away on a great trip with their best buddies”.

“So he was happy?”

“I think he was happy…….”

“Did he kiss you goodbye?”

I can feel my face getting hot but I answer boldly,

“Oh yeah! We kissed. Actually for a long time. A really, really long time. He loves my mouth…..”

Mother-in-law makes a face and raises her right hand,

“Please say no more!”

I fall silent.

As the kids and I stare at her, standing at the threshold of her home, she continues to perform calculations on our marriage in her head and finally says,

“Well come on in, dears! Let’s eat”.

I enter and collapse on the couch. My kids busy themselves with the TV.

One thing about my MIL! She’s an excellent cook and sure enough, we are tucking into a scrumptious spread of egg sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, home made donuts and croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice.

My kids and I eat voraciously. MIL keeps filling our plates and we keep eating. She watches us in silence and then quietly says,

“You guys have been eating, haven’t you?”

“Oh yeah!”, I say with my mouth full. “We eat a lot”.

“What were you going to have for lunch if you stayed home today?”

“Huh?” This question momentarily shakes me off my feet but then I reply with a laugh,

“Oh we have loads of left over pizza that we got last week. We’ve been eating that”.

“You’ve been eating pizza for a full week?”, she half-screams.

“Four different flavors”, my youngest says in my defense and I smile gratefully at him.

“Please don’t speak while you’re eating, my child”, MIL scolds him and turns to me and whispers discreetly.

“You don’t think that the lack of a nice, home cooked meal is why my son prefers to spend a whole weekend, a long weekend, away from his family? Because that’s easily fixable. I can bring over food everyday”.

Everyday? Is she kidding me? She’s going to see us everyday? Under the pretense of a home cooked, organic, non GMO, farm grown meal? No way!

I gulp my food down hard to make sure I don’t miss the window in which she could potentially finalize this plan and say, while half-choking on my food,

“I cook everyday. Please don’t bother. I don’t want to be a burden”.

“It’s not a burden, dear! I know you’re with child. It’s hard for you. You need someone to help you. Not that I got much help ever when I was pregnant. And mind you! My kids were huge.” She ends her reply sardonically and I can see the same unkind glimmer in her eye that appears whenever she is remembering my late father-in-law.

She’s being so nice and understanding that there is no way around it now and I silently accept her help.

After about three hours or so we return home. My kids have been fed for an entire week by their grandma so we all fall asleep immediately.

I wake up the next morning and instinctively reach for my phone. He hasn’t called or texted. I’m momentarily sad that we argued while he was leaving but my sadness is immediately replaced by anger as I see his Facebook profile picture with his friends, rafting in the river.

Okay! Game on! I’m going to have a better day than him.

I rush over to the kids and wake them up rudely,

“Hey wake up. Time to have fun”.

They wake up bleary-eyed and groggy. They look at me with a little disdain. Finally, my youngest who has a gift when it comes to saying snarky things, says,

“Is this how we are supposed to have fun now? I was having a funny dream. So I was having fun”.

I’m momentarily nonplussed. Why aren’t they more excited? And what’s a funny dream? Does it involve some X-rated stuff? If yes, then I’m glad I woke him up.

I pull myself up and try to look unaffected by his flippancy,

“I was talking about healthy fun. Like going out and doing something that we all can enjoy”.

“Can we go to Grandma’s again?”, my oldest asked.

“Err…….No.”

“Okay then what can we do that’s fun for all of us? May be go indoor skydiving?”

“Skydiving? How about the zoo?”

“The zoo ?”, my youngest has another disdainful moment.

Okay, may be I should try to be cooler around my generation Alpha’s.

“Err… okay let’s go sky diving.”

After about an hour of breakfast and getting ready with my five month belly I finally manage to get my kids in the car. But…….

“Good morning, dear! Where are you guys off to?”

Oh darn! It’s my mother-in-law.

“Haha. Haha.”, I laugh nervously as she squares her eyes at me, “We were just going to…..”.

“Skydive”, my youngest deadpans.

“Sky. Dive?” Mother-in-law repeats slowly and lethally, “how can your mother go skydiving when she is going to have a baby in four months?”

“Haha. Not really skydiving. I told them skydiving but I was going to take them to the zoo”.

“So you lied to them?”

“Not really a lie. A fib. It’s harmless really. They don’t even listen to me that carefully so it’s not like they’d even know what we talked about”, as I’m rattling nervously I can see her expression changing from thundering to understanding.

“I know, dear! I’ve raised kids too. They never listen”, then she turns to the kids and says ” come on kids! I’ve brought a whole load of goodies for you to eat. Your mother needs to rest”.

I decide to interject.

“Dear mother-in-law! We need to spend the day enjoying ourselves. The kids and I were going to spend the whole day out”.

I know my MIL doesn’t like my forwardness in advocating for myself and my kids. She takes a deep breath and then asks in a hurt voice,

“Would you at least allow me to put this food in the fridge? I spent all of last evening making it for the kids. They have no meat on their bones. They’ll thank you some day for letting their grandmother feed them healthy and wholesome food”.

“Certainly!” I stand aside and let her slide past me into my home.

When she hasn’t come out for the next fifteen minutes I go in and find her sniffing at various items that she has clearly taken out of my fridge. She has also discarded many of them and they’re sitting miserably, face up in the trash can.

“Errr…. what are you doing?”

“Making room in your fridge, dear”. She responds calmly.

I try to control my anger as she throws my baked potatoes into the trash can with a flourish.

“I can get to it when I come back. Right now we need to leave.”

“You say you’ll get it to it, dear, but I just discovered some yogurt that expired last year”.

I’m indignant. Her nerve at ransacking my fridge and then finding faults with my housekeeping! Of all the bad things that are associated with my husband, she’s the worst.

I, however, learned a long time ago that losing my cool in front of MIL will only make her look at me like I’m crazy. Therefore I say,

“We have to leave right now. I would appreciate it if you took up cleaning my fridge another time”.

Now when I use that tone at work, people are momentarily paralyzed. Not my MIL though. She looks at me with a bemused expression and says,

“Where do you expect me to put my cooking?”

Without saying a word I take her cooking and stuff it in the fridge at odd angles. It looks precarious but I close the fridge door. My mother-in-law’s face is a mix of many negative emotions.

“There”, I say panting a little. I’m exhausted both by my anger and the effort to cramp so much into a tight space in the fridge.

She turns on her heel and leaves.

Feeling guilty about turning her away I ask the kids to get in the car. But my mood is not right. I’m feeling guilty, tired, angry that I can’t get through a weekend without missing my husband. And he hasn’t called or texted. His indifference stung me.

As the kids climb into the car my oldest notices that I am very quiet. He gives me a kiss and hugs me. I break down.

My kids look flabbergasted. They don’t know what to do. I’m usually a moderately fun mom so they don’t know what came over me. My youngest helps me in the house and my oldest gets me some water.

After I have calmed down with the water, my oldest tells me sheepishly,

“Mom! If you want something nice to eat, Grandma’s apple pie smells yum”.

I laugh at his sneakiness and tell them to bring her goodies over.

They unload her food and I’m caught with guilt again. I’m usually nice to my MIL whatever her general demeanor may be. May be it’s my hormones, I think with a sudden compassion for myself.

My kids bring over the food. She certainly went to great lengths to make it. As I smell it and decide to dig in, my youngest says slyly,

“Mom! I bet Grandma is waiting for you to call.”

I know that they know that their Grandma can hold a grudge for as long as it takes for me to apologize.

I wearily pick up my cell phone and call her.

She’s reluctant at first but when I tell her that the kids are missing her, she immediately agrees to come over.

Thirty minutes later we are all eating with a little conversation and a whole lot of munching.

By the time we are done with the food, it’s afternoon and I have yawned enough times for MIL to take notice.

“Dear, you had better get to sleep. You’re in a delicate condition. I’m not sure why your husband thinks it’s a good idea to leave you here by yourself for the whole weekend but I’ll ask him that. Go to sleep now!”.

I’m grateful and teary again. My MIL who doesn’t do well with sappy women hushes me.

“Don’t cry, dear! Please don’t cry. You know I don’t like crying. My mother spanked us harder when we cried. Off you go now! There’s a good girl! I’m watching the kids.”

But I’ve stopped dead in my tracks. I stare at my MIL. The lines in her face look deeper. The parts of her cheeks that the sun has kissed so often are redder in that moment.

“Your mother spanked you?”

“All the time, dear”.

“And harder when you cried?”

“Yes, dear”.

“I never knew that”.

“What’s there to know, dear?”

I’m staring at my MIL, the woman who has a fierce but gentle quality about her. Who’s as fair as she’s strict. Who loves me even though is scared to show it.

“Did you use to spank your kids too?”

My MIL is not facing me anymore. She is bent over the table, picking up our post-meal crumbs. I can see her back becoming rigid.

“I never touched my kids with as much as a finger if it wasn’t to love them”.

“But how did you not hit them if your mom hit you?”

My MIL sighs and turns to face me.

“Dear! My mother wasn’t a bad mother for using her hands on me. That was the only way she knew. She loved us. More than anyone else. But when you have five kids under the age of six you sometimes don’t use discretion. Sometimes there isn’t a lot of patience available. Sometimes the youngest needs to be locked up in the garage while she is sorting out the oldest four. Sometimes the youngest gets neglected and forgotten. When you have five kids, it’s hard to keep your wits about you”.

I know she’s the youngest.

Somehow my mother-in-law and I end up talking for four hours. She tells me of her childhood and her adolescence. How she defied the culture of olden days and went to college. How she became the matriarch of my husband’s family. How she fought for her kids’ right to decision making when it came to dating, eduction and careers.

My kids listen to parts of it too. We are fascinated and in awe of her. She finally tucks us all in and leaves for the night.

I wake up the next morning in much better spirits. I sense the kids being awake. I go downstairs and see them eating toast. They’ve made some for me too. As I sit on the breakfast table proudly smiling at how much they trouble me but are so adorable at the same time too, I realize that they never got to skydiving the day before.

“Guys lets go skydiving today”.

My kids need no other prompt. They quickly stuff their toasts in their mouths and run upstairs to get dressed.

An hour later, they’re standing at an incredibly long queue at the skydiving place. As I couldn’t dive, I was sitting in a corner by myself for the first ten minutes until I was joined by another woman.

“Hi! I’m Natasha”. She’s very friendly and introduces herself immediately.

“Hi”, I smile briefly and because I’m very nauseous I decide to not make any further conversations with her.

“Your kids are probably in the line there”.

“Yes”, I again answer briefly and return to my silence.

“Mine too. I have three. That’s Jacqueline in the pink top and black shorts with the Mickey Mouse sneakers. She’s a huge fan. We were at Disney last week and if we hadn’t brought her back she would have likely set up her life there. Haha. Ha ha ha”.

“How cute!”, I slide a sentence in nicely.

“And that’s Hunter. The one in the yellow shirt and the white bubblegum shorts. Can I tell you a secret? Promise you won’t tell anyone?”

“Huh? Well I’m not great with keeping secrets……”

“Those shorts are actually his sister’s but I didn’t get a chance to do laundry yesterday so I just threw those on him. Hahahha hahahah”.

I’m starting to lose my mind now.

” And that one is my baby, Jamie! Isn’t she adorable? The one in the pink tutu and silver sandals with the huge unicorn hat? That’s my miracle baby. I told my husband that he should get a vasectomy and he told me that he did so I went off birth control. But…. hahah….. hahah…… he was just messing with me, see? He never got the vasectomy and so here’s little Jamie! Oh isn’t she adorable?”

I’m quite sure this woman doesn’t need a two-way conversation so I remain quiet.

“So you’re pregnant?”

“Yes”.

“How many weeks?”

“Twenty”.

“Boy or girl?”

Suddenly I feel violated. This woman just never stops it seems.

“Well…..”

“Oh I can tell. Are you craving sweet or spicy?”

“Errrr sweet”.

“Then it’s a girl”.

“Are you sure?”

“Oh yeah. Let me look at you properly. Stand up. Come on! Stand up. Oh come on. You’re laboring over this one like you’re already in your last trimester. This is just the beginning. When I was twenty weeks with Hunter I carried our couch from the family room to the living room”.

I stand up so she can see me better.

“Hmm….” she looks at me like an idiot looking at a telescope and trying to figure out which end to look at the sky from.

“You’re carrying the baby on the side so I bet it’s a girl. So two for two for a girl. You’re having a girl”.

I’m a little panicked. I haven’t shopped for much but having two boys I have no idea what to do if I have a girl.

“Okay I don’t want to alarm you but a girl labor is much much harder than a boy’s. When I had Jacqueline and Jamie! Oh my God! My husband will tell you that the labor lasted for two days and I pushed for six hours each time”.

“Six hours?”

“Yeah! Six! Actually they thought I might need a cesarean, she was big and I was tired. You know girls are twice the size of boys, don’t you?”

“But my boys were eight pounds each”.

“Oh she’s gonna be huge then. You’ll see. Jacqueline was twelve pounds and little Jamie was a ten. You’ll see. Oh I feel sorry for you, honey”. She looks at me and for a moment I think she has tears in her eyes. Then she immediately changes tacks.

“Have you been eating and sleeping okay?”

I can’t deal with her ADD anymore. I try to detach myself from this conversation by yelling to my boys,

“Guys! How much longer?”

“We just got here, Mom”.

“Awww they’re adorable”, Natasha chimes.

I’m starting to get irritated by her. Blame it on my pregnancy hormones but I haven’t been able to tolerate any talk of labor recently .

Meanwhile, Natasha, the human word machine is on to the next topic.

“Have you asked someone to come over to help you? I mean you can’t be dealing with three kids by yourself. And boys are a handful. And trust me, new born girls are so feisty. They ask for so much attention. Then you’ll be needing a hand for all the photo sessions and outfit changes. Isn’t that why you went for a third so you could have a girl? And I agree with you. Boys are all nice and fun but a girl is going to be your best friend for life. She will be your real child. She will really understand you. Oh my gosh! I’m so excited for you.”

But I haven’t even told her what I’m having. I inwardly roll my eyes.

Suddenly I have one of my false contractions. It’s painful and makes me double over.

Natasha is quick to notice and immediately stands up.

“You’re having a contraction. Don’t worry they can happen after twenty weeks. But they can come on more frequently when you’re dehydrated. Have you had anything to drink since you’ve been here? I know they say it’s indoors but there are so many people and a tight space! I bet you’re dehydrated.”

She darts across the room to the juice bar and grabs a drink for me. She comes rushing back.

“Drink up. Go on. Drink. Or you’ll get a real contraction”.

Scared by this prophecy I immediately empty the glass in one gulp and if truth be told, I instantly feel better.

“Thank you, Natasha!” I say gratefully.

She waves my thanks away and brings a nearby chair so I can rest my feet on it. I’m embarrassed at how nice she’s being. But I kinda need her right now.

For some reason, from an annoying talkative stranger she went to someone I share my grief for that weekend. How my husband had left us to be on a boys’ trip and hadn’t contacted me.

I see Natasha in a deep thought after I finish my tragedy.

“Honey, don’t be so upset. I know it seems selfish that he left and argued with you and hasn’t contacted you since then but honestly, that’s what marriage is all about. Who else would he feel so comfortable with to show his true emotion? I know it looks like he’s angry and probably a little sour at you marring his moment a bit but I don’t think you guys have anything going on here that won’t disappear in thin air as soon as you see each other”.

I hadn’t thought about not overthinking it. It is a relief to hear someone say that this is a normal spat between spouses.

After the kids had had their four turns at diving, I leave after exchanging my cell phone number with Natasha. I have already accepted an invitation to her youngest’s birthday.

We are so tired when we reach home that we immediately drop down to sleep.

My kids wake up the next day and leave for school.

As I’m examining the load of dishes from the weekend I hear a gentle cough. It’s him.

All my thoughts of making up with him as soon as I see him evaporate and are instantly replaced with a rage and white fury.

“Hi”, he says a little defiantly.

“Hi”, I reply curtly.

He doesn’t speak any more and goes upstairs to deposit his stuff in our room. He comes down about fifteen minutes later and comes over to the sink.

“Need a hand?”

“Yes, please. Some are nicer dishes and can’t go in the dishwasher”.

He quietly washes all the dishes in the sink and then puts on the kettle. As I am straightening up the family room I hear the weight of his hands on my shoulders.

“Let’s sit down and drink our coffee. I’ve been dying for a proper cup of coffee.” He says.

As we sit down I feel the corners of my eyes getting wet. I can’t believe that I spent the whole of last weekend trying to wage a vendetta against my husband. Was it really too much for him to spend two days with his friends who are like brothers to him? Why couldn’t I be more like a friend to him and let him enjoy himself without any guilt?

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been so snappy. I think my hormones are getting the best of me”. I finally apologize.

“It’s okay. I shouldn’t have gone. If truth be told, the trip was a initially a total bust. I’d rather stay home than go to a trip as badly planned as this one”.

I feel my heart lightening. My smile brightens up the room. But I can’t be overtly happy. I have to be sympathetic about his bad weekend. So I say like I mean commiseration,

“I’m so sorry, honey! What happened?”

“You know the guy who planned everything. I don’t think he can tie his shoe laces right, he’s so inept. He didn’t book the rafts for us so of course we had to take turns. Then he forgot to book any place for a nice dinner. He thought that the whole idea of camping is to hunt and then spear our food over a bonfire. I mean, is he four?”

He’s becoming more indignant as he speaks and I can’t help but feel happier each time he cusses his friends.

“Oh you poor baby! That’s awful. Why didn’t you guys come home sooner then?”

“Well there was one saving grace of this whole trip. We went to the town next to the one we were going to be camping at and found this amazing place to go-Kart. And we had the time of our lives. It was like we were high schoolers again. So much fun!”

Time of their lives? So much fun? I feel my happiness at his misery dying a little.

“And that’s not it,” he continues excitedly, “then we found a junk yard where they’ve created this amazing bulldozing place. For fun. So you can bulldoze all day long and it’s totally safe and such a stress-buster”.

Fun? Stress-buster? Does he realize that a pregnant woman was worried sick about arguing with him when he left? Is he so insensitive to think that just by doing dishes and making coffee for me he can assume that we are not fighting anymore? He has got to be kidding me.

“Honey”, I clear my throat, “as happy as I am for your weekend, I think I’ve heard enough to safely assume that you had a great time. I don’t think your happiness in this was ever in question. The person who really had some serious concerns about being alone this weekend was me. Me and my kids. And frankly, even your mother. Four people who depend on you only to be abandoned by you for a full weekend. So if I were you, I’d be careful about rubbing in how awesome my weekend was.”

He’s silent and a little scared.

“Sorry dear!”, he finally splutters, “I should’ve asked you how your weekend was. It sounds like it was awful.”

“It was. I can’t tell you how awful my weekend was”.

As I tell him about my weekend he nods and shakes his head. May be because I just yelled at him for being selfish he asks all the right questions and shows the right amount of compassion for my pregnant state. However by the end of my weekend description, he’s frowning and looking serious.

“So you had a serious heart to heart with my mom?”

“Yes”.

“Wow! She has never talked to me about all that”.

“May be she talked to me because I’m sensitive”, I stress the word “sensitive” a little but he’s not listening.

“Honey! Forgive my saying this but I think you had a fabulous weekend too. Sure you didn’t get to go camping or all the outdoor stuff I did but you had a very deep conversation with my mom, ate delicious home-cooked meals and made a friend at the skydiving place. You might not think much of it but you had a great weekend”.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I did have fun without him too.

He’s looking at me with a knowing look in his eyes.

“You are not the martyr today. I won’t let you be. You had way more fun than many other women had this weekend. And I had fun with my friends too. None of us is a martyr in this. At least not in this one.”

I sigh. “Well, guess not!”

“But do you think it’s healthy to enjoy things without each other? Make friends and find company in other people? Wouldn’t that affect our relationship?”

My husband laughs at my question but then immediately becomes serious.

“It’s totally healthy to have friends outside of a domestic relationship with your spouse. Friends are important. Other family members are important. Your need to connect with other women is important. That woman knew you were going to have another contraction if she didn’t get you a drink. I don’t think I’ve always been that savvy. I like that you have friends and they are your support sisters. There’s nothing wrong with that. You need that. Swapping pregnancy and labor stories is no fun with me. I can’t contribute in any way to that. I love you as my wife but you’re a person in your own right too. How would it be unhealthy to be your own most authentic self?”

I let his words sink in. Then I say,

“But you know how women are told that they have to find their love and peace in their domestic lives and their husbands and kids. I thought you would want me to be completely dedicated to that mission. My mom never had friends of her own. All her friends were my dad’s friends’ wives. Whether she liked them or not, those were the women she socialized with”.

” May be but times have changed. Our relationship isn’t so flimsy that it would change just because we refuse to be joined at the hip. We can be individuals and still be each other’s lovers”.

I blush at the word “lovers” but let it wash over me. In ten years of my marriage, my husband has never been as affirming as he is being today.

Finally I decide to make it easy for him.

“I accept your apology”.

He laughs and kisses me on the forehead. The doorbell rings.

“Oh I forgot to tell you,” I say casually.

“What?” , he asks as he’s walking towards the door.

“Your mom offered to come over to cook every night while I’m pregnant”.

“What?” My husband turns pale. Then he groans. He momentarily stops in his tracks. He finally starts walking again to the door to let his mom in,

“Guess that was the most traumatic way you could punish me for having a weekend with my friends. This punishment is gonna last for another four or five months. Oh boy! May be we should stick to being a couple and not explore other relationships so much”.

I can’t stop laughing. Whatever happens, he will always be my number one relationship.

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