My greatest gratitude today goes to my husband, a person for whom I am thankful every single day, even though he wears white socks with sandals against my fervently expressed wishes, even though he doesn't like popcorn.
This month has been an awful month for car sales, which figures, since next month is Christmas. Back in the good old days, we knew that November would be rocky, so we did this thing, this amazing thing that really helped us out a lot: We put a whole bunch of money in the bank back in June, July and August so that when November came along, we could just pay all our bills out of that savings account and use whatever amount he earned in commission to buy Christmas gifts and the like. But those days? They are gone with the wind, Miss Scarlett.
This morning, my husband came upstairs, smelling of fresh clothes and soap and toothpaste, and looked at me, where I was admittedly still yawning in the bed, having not yet summoned the energy to get up on a cool, rainy morning. "Scoot over," he said.
I obligingly scooted and he climbed in under the covers next to me. We stayed there face to face for a moment, our noses practically touching. "You know," he said, "when we met, I thought it was so great that you were a teacher, because I knew you'd always have steady work that paid well, with insurance and everything. I figured that with what I made -- and I planned to do well -- we'd have a pretty decent life, with a nice house, cars, money in the bank...."
"We do have a pretty decent life," I said stoutly.
"Not really what I thought it would be," he said ruefully. "But when the kids came along, I just couldn't see you working. You know, outside the home. I wanted to be able to shoulder the whole deal. I was proud that I could do that, you know? The men in my family, they've always been the kind who saw it as a point of honor that their wives didn't have to work unless they just wanted to."
"I know," I said. "And you do a great job, you really do. We always squeeze by, no matter what. And the recession won't last forever."
"I hope not. God, I pray not," he sighed. "I'd sure like to think that someday we'll look back on this whole one income life with our decision to home school the girls and say, 'Geeez, that was pretty frikken scary during that recession, but we made it. We always made it, no matter what."
"Well, you know that's how our great-great-grandparents got through the Great Depression. They made it and we will, too." I smoothed out a worried line between his eyes. "I wonder if I'll end up being one of those ladies who's saved a drawer full of string or thumbtacks or something?"
"If you're going to save something crazy, then I'd prefer it if you'd save something useful, like stamps or safety pins," he said, flinging back the bedcovers and getting out of the bed. He leaned over and smooched me on the forehead. "Love you. Call me. What's for dinner?"
"Velveeta Shells and Cheese."
"Are you TRYING to kill me?"
"Look, I've already had this same discussion with your kids. You are going to be FEASTING on Thursday, so I think you can manage with macaroni and cheese on Wednesday. Besides, I have a bunch of Thanksgiving cooking to do and I don't want to have to put together a big dinner on top of all that."
"Macaroni and cheese is just basic nourishment, kid food," he grumbled.
"I told the girls that if they didn't quit complaining, I wasn't going to cook the pasta before I served it," I warned.
"Whatever," he sighed. "Well, anyway, talk to you later."
He went out of the room, shutting the door quietly behind him, mindful of the sleeping girls, and went off to slay some dragons.
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