Life is messy. I wish I meant this in the metaphorical way, which is much easier to ignore, but when I stumbled out into the dining area this morning at the crack of dawn, the dinner table full of empty wine glasses, dirty coffee mugs, and burned out candles reminded me that life is messy, in fact the whole house is messy. It only got worse when I walked into the kitchen where the other half of the dirty dishes haven’t even made it into the sink yet, and the remaining ingredients from the chocolate toasts with olive oil and sea salt that I made for last night’s Valentine’s Day party (recipe to come) still haven’t been put away. I’ve successfully ignored the mess so far, but I’m getting hungry for breakfast and one of my least favorite things in the whole world is to cook in a messy kitchen.
In our household Eli washes the dishes. I plan the menus, shop for the food, and cook the meals but I don’t wash the dishes unless I absolutely have to. Even the most gifted housewives have to draw the line somewhere—I draw it at scrubbing plates and forks, and I don’t take out the trash unless its overflowing and someone’s coming over before Eli gets home from work. I earn my keep in other ways and, after all, if I want to nurture as egalitarian a relationship as I can, then I have to leave some things for my husband to do, don’t I?
Joking aside, my husband is truly the most wonderful person I’ve ever known. Not only does he wash dishes, take out the garbage and recycling, wash the laundry, clean the bathroom, and has even been known to grease a few hinges, but he keeps my feet on the ground even when my head is in the clouds. It can’t be easy to be married to a grad-student-mother-of-three who fancies herself a writer, gastronome, theologian, and cookbook critic, and is an Enneagram type three and an ENTJ in soooo many ways, but Eli fulfills his role as partner, father, and friend dutifully and with remarkable grace.
Valentine’s Day is now past, but even a month of Valentine’s Days wouldn’t be enough to express the love, gratitude, and joy I feel for my husband. We didn’t exchange flowers, cards, or even chocolate yesterday, but I may well wash all those dishes in the sink before he gets home from work today, which, after over a decade of really-real marriage, is better than candy or roses.