This weekend I missed my husband. Well, not my husband, or ex-husband, rather, but the idea of having one. You see, my house was 17 degrees. On a sunny day, 17 is beautiful. I wouldn’t complain about 17. But inside my house, it felt so cold that when my friend and her daughter came over for dinner, we had to wear our down-filled jackets. We ate our sushi with numb fingers, and as we ate our noses dripped into our food. The drip was so constant I couldn’t even be bothered to wipe my nose until it was most of the way down my face. My friend and I went down to the basement and looked blankly at the equipment in the storage room.
“What’s this?” she asked, pointing to a big metal box with a red lever and a yellow.
It jogged my memory.
“That’s it!” I tugged the yellow lever upward. That should do it.
Yes, that did it, alright. By morning my house was still 17, my nose was still running and the yellow lever had started a flood in my basement. If I had a husband he would have noticed the cold and gone down to the basement and realized quicker than me that our heater was broken. If I had a husband, we could have taken turns together running up and down the stairs to get towels to sop up the mess. We could have frowned at one another and said, “Oh dear, look at the mess.”
I doubt that’s how it would have gone when I was married, which is partially why we aren’t married anymore. So I did what I would have done then anyway. I mopped the floor by myself and frowned by myself and looked at the yellow lever in confusion. What’s wrong with you? I wanted to ask. Then I did what I most loathed to do. I admitted I had a problem and called my ex-husband. He wouldn’t want his children to freeze, after all, and he happens to work in the industry. He sent someone over to assess the heater and suddenly I was happy to at least have an ex-husband.
But there are other times I miss the idea of having a partner, like when my boys are scheduled to play hockey at different arenas at the same time. Like when they each have to prepare for spelling tests on the same day.
Instead of dividing and conquering like I imagine I would if I had a husband, I just have to conquer.
Yet as nice as it would be to share with someone else the burden of ordinary household basement floods and the raising of children under one roof, being on my own with my boys has its perks. I get to enjoy them, hear their jokes first, wake up with them in the morning. I get to see them smile with pride when they study for their spelling tests and remember all the words. I can call my parents on FaceTime, my siblings, my friends and boyfriend, and even their dad. I’m never really alone. I suppose I’m just on my own.
Maybe we always miss what we don’t have or wish we could have things we don’t. The grass is always greener, as they say. Today, however, I’m going to live in the present; appreciate what I have, even when one of those things isn’t indoor heating. But first things first: I should probably wipe my nose.