I wasn’t sure when the appropriate time to reveal that I caught my husband doing something I never thought he’d do.
Last time R was home was back in July for L’s fourth birthday. We have a few rituals whenever his departure date rolls up all too fast and having an afternoon to ourselves was one of them. One of my friends agreed to watch our kids all day while R and I spent some quality time together, namely watching the final Harry Potter movie and deconstructing Hogwarts over sushi.
We decided to have a carb-heavy breakfast at Panera because who can resist their sesame seed bagels with cream cheese? Don’t look at me! I can’t!
So while our meal was winding down, R got up to go the bathroom. For some reason I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling growing inside of me. Kind of like when you’re speeding and all of a sudden you get an urge to slow down and voila, there’s a cop down the next block? Yeah, that was the feeling.
After R sat down, he smiled at me but I didn’t smile back. Something was wrong.
Something was definitely wrong.
I stared at him for a moment. Then I whispered, “Are you… chewing?” And by chewing I meant of the Skoal and Copenhagen variety, not poppy seed bagel.
He froze. Busted.
Tears sprang to my eyes but I didn’t let them fall. Not in front of the kids.
I said, “I need to be alone. I’ll be waiting in the car.”
I admittedly stormed out of the restaurant. I knew I was acting like a baby but I didn’t care but I felt like he didn’t care either.
In that moment I felt like everything he and the kids and I had done since last April was a joke and let me explain why.
After R’s accident , I was numb for quite some time. Only when he finally got to the VA in Palo Alto could I see time passing. He’d struggle. He’d hit a milestone. He’d succeed. He’d fail. And over and over again.
Same with the kids and I. We struggled to make sense of his accident and recovery as a family, having endless conversations with teachers and coaches and close friends and family so that they too could be my eyes and ears. I learned that this supportive network of these wonderful people in our lives helped us function on a daily basis and later to thrive. For this I will always be grateful.
So when that bittersweet phone call from his work came this past March, the one that told R to fly to Virginia because he recovered enough to go back to work, I truly felt that he had another chance to live his life.
The accident forced R to quit smoking and eat better. Unfortunately one of those things didn’t last.
I bit my tongue until the moment we left my friend’s house and of course I let him have it. “What are you doing? Are you serious? Why would you do this to yourself? I feel like EVERYTHING we went through since your accident was a joke! You already know your health hinges on a tiny balance! I can’t believe this! Oh my God! I’m gonna tell your grandma!” (I know, I was serious. I pulled the Grandma card.)
R said he was stressed, he hated living out in Virginia without us, he hated his new responsibilities at work, and many more reasons that would justify resuming his nicotine habit.
Like a patient husband, he let me rant until I got it all out of my system but I’ll bet he never saw this coming…
“Wait,” I said. “If you really truly feel like you absolutely need nicotine to make your life easier, to make the days go faster, to make your retirement day seem closer, just please tell me and I won’t bother you about it ever again.”
And what do you know? He said he didn’t need it.
That afternoon (after our date with Hermione, Harry, and Ron, of course) we drove to the store to stock up on nicotine lozenges. Three months later, he’s still off nicotine.
Dude will go to any length to avoid another ass-chewing! Can’t say I blame him. Have endured similar reprimands from the preschooler.
Another dude in the family who was recently busted was our son M at our Halloween party last night. He was jumping on the trampoline with his friends when he bumped his own knee to his mouth so hard that he split his lip. Good thing I have a variety of friends including a doctor, several nurses, and a medical consultant who all recommended he needed stitches!
M is doing fine physically and is on antibiotics to prevent infection. Emotionally he’s kind of a wreck. It’s hard for him to eat and he gets himself so worked up over the disgusting medicine he has to take. I don’t blame him. I’ve forgotten how much time we’ve spent with doctors in the past year and a half!