I am a wife. It’s still a strange feeling when my husband asks, “Have you met my wife?”
It still feels a little like I’m acting a part in a play. But not like in high school when I was cast as the ingenue. Now, I have a juicy role, one I can really chop down on. I’m Kate of Kate Hall. I’m Beatrice. I’m queen of this stage.
I’m all those things. But I’m also so utterly human.
There’s a song by Sinatra I loved to sing as a kid (I was a weird kid), Wives and Lovers.
Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your make-up, soon he will open the door,
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger, you needn’t try any more.
For wives should always be lovers too,
Run to his arms the moment that he comes home to you.
The Women’s Studies student in me despises that song. It’s just so wrong. But it weaseled its way under my skin and even studious amounts of Audre Lorde, Gloria Steinem, or Sandra Cisneros did not undo the itch to be perfect.
Then I added the title ‘mother’ to the mix, and I found a new kind of perfect. I don’t arise a ray of sunshine, but I arise. I don’t remember to do the laundry all the time, but I remember to say I love you. There isn’t a roast in the oven, but there are bananas on the counter (most of the time). I say goodbye to my husband wearing a robe (or nothing at all), with a baby on my hip. And then some days, he’s waving me goodbye as I head off to work…in leggings and a ponytail. It’s an imperfect kind of perfect. And it suits me just fine.
This role has challenged me more than any role ever has. It’s challenged me to be me. Kate and Bianca all wrapped up in one brown-eyed, sometimes sharp, sometimes sweet, little package. That is, it’s challenged me to be kind, to be present, and to be forgiving.
In an alternate universe, Ella Fitzgerald wrote a song to husbands urging them to be lovers too. To bring their wives flowers and the occasional diamond necklace. To swoop them up and spin them around each time they return from the office. Jeremy does none of these things. He’s busy being his own kind of perfect, the kind of perfect I’m desperately in love with.
I’ll take the imperfect any day, with it’s accidents and apologies and ernest I-love-yous. I’ll take the performance where Kate forgets her lines and Beatrice trips. Because real life is way better than putting on a show.
Want to see what happened two years ago? Click here.
*Photo by Tanya Alexis
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