A good one

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I’ve known it from the beginning. It was maybe our third or fourth date. We were going to a party at his friend’s house, and I casually mentioned in the car, at the beginning of a pretty long drive, that I had a little headache. As soon as we got to the party, he took his friend aside and asked her for a glass of water and an Advil. I hadn’t mentioned it again and I’d given no indication that I was in pain, but he remembered and made it a priority. I immediately felt better, and it had nothing to do with the ibuprofen.

I’ve known it from the beginning — this Tony guy; he’s one of the good ones.

Tony and our boys.
  • Tony and our boys.

Now, ten years, a marriage, and two kids later, I still know it... but it’s the kind of knowledge that’s become second nature, like simple arithmetic or riding a bicycle. I often find nothing extraordinary about my husband’s goodness. He does the dishes and cleans the floors; he gets up twice a night to fetch baby Pau for his feedings; he brushes our toddler’s teeth and combs his unruly curls. Whenever I mention a headache, he still pours me a glass of water and gives me an Advil, but now he also corrals the children in the playroom and tucks me into bed for a leisurely nap. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I positively believe that these are the kinds of things husbands are supposed to do. Still, the other day I realized how important it is for me to acknowledge that he does them.

It was Saturday morning, and Luki and I were playing trains. I can’t remember what Tony was doing at the time, but for some reason, I said to my son, “Your daddy is so good,” and we continued with our game. Hours later, during lunch time, and out of the blue, Luki announced to the table, “My daddy is really good.” I realized it was the first time he’d ever said anything like that. Was it because he’d never heard me call his daddy “good” before?

That could very well be the case. Luki has seen his parents kiss and embrace every day since he was born. He has heard us say “I love you” countless times. But those things — although not devoid of meaning — are done as part of a daily routine. And while we try not to argue in front of the kids, our son has heard me nag my husband about watching TV much more than he’s seen me show genuine appreciation for all that he does. Hearing me make a deliberate statement about his father’s goodness was something that obviously sunk in and made an impact on his 3-year-old self. So much so, that he felt it necessary to repeat it.

Being a family is hard. Some days I feel like my entire life is just a long series of chores. But it would be a lot harder if I didn’t have a partner who took on equal responsibility for making our domestic life work. My son reminded me of that this week, and for that I am thankful.

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