If I had to pinpoint the number one thing that bugs me about my husband it's that he is a man. He has Man thoughts . He listens like a Man. He solves problems and approaches emotions like a Man. On the weekends, he has Man priorities that often involve sandpaper or power tools. When I'm trying to get to my moisturizer in the bathroom or the toaster in the kitchen, his big Man body is often in my way.
On the other hand, if I were to say my favorite thing about my husband, it is also that he is a Man. In our family of four, he is the only one we have. I sometimes wonder how he copes with that. As he comes to the back door at 5:30 p.m., briefcase in hand, and surveys the swirling emotion and twirling princess skirts going on in the kitchen, it's amazing that he doesn't walk right back out to his car and flip on ESPN radio.
If there is something more attractive to a woman than seeing the father of her children lie on the floor and play Barbies I don't know it is. I love seeing my 6'2" husband curled up on pink twin bed, his body being used as a diving board for stuffed animals or Littlest Pet Shop kitty cats. He reads girlie stories in his Man voice, and raises it an octave to sing silly songs. In our daughter's school Father's Day project, in a sentence that said "Whenever I need advice about.... I just ask my dad," she filled the blank with: "how my outfit looks." A Man without sons, my husband walks into the world of Girls with grace, tenderness, (dare I say it?) style.
And then also, he brings Man activities into their lives, giving them balance. He favors phrases like "Rub some dirt on it" and "suck it up." Our eldest daughter received a real tool set from her father when she was four: complete with level, socket wrench and sand paper. He is her personal soccer coach, her bicycle instructor, her fiercest opponent in wrestling matches. Likewise our youngest, not the most adventurous toddler, benefited from our Man's motivation to get her in the pool, on her two wheeler, and up playground ladders. She now finds that Daddy is her best jungle gym and and excellent Vader to her Skywalker in light saber battles.
I have said before, perhaps in this blog, that Jeff can be the rock we all break against. I happen not only to be a Woman, but a pretty emotional woman. Together, we are raising emotional daughters with all the upheaval that entails. I sometimes get a picture in my head of Jeff, standing firm and refusing to be affected as all of us churn and crash up against him. Sometimes that firmness bordering-on-stoicism irritates me, but in reality firm is what we often need. Our man is the rock we lean on.
Being the father is a very tough job. Our Man gets us at our worst: early in the morning and during the witching hour at night. Sometime I want him to swoop in and fix things already, when I am tired and overstimulated by a day at home alone with the kids. And then I turn around him and tell him to just listen, don't fix. (At this point, he's wishing I came with a manual like his scroll saw did.) He has a limited time to make an enormous impact, less time to study and know the kids than I do, and yet his influence is absolutely as critical. I'm proud to say that my husband is making the most of his role, not doing it perfectly, but very, very well.
As I write this, the Man of our house is in our four-by-four foot powder room with a three gallon air compressor, getting ready to install some crown molding (I couldn't make this up if I tried). In the back yard, he has set up his Craftsman miter saw. This is his idea of kicking back on Father's Day weekend. Man thinking! I'm not enjoying the noise (in fact, I am jumping out of my skin every 95 seconds), but I will enjoy the molding when it's finished. Just one more reason I'm happy that this man is the Man in our house.