It was a complicated question that generated a simple answer, but in doing so, uncovered a simple truth, even if the answer was a lie. Let me give you some context.
It was early Sunday morning. As the sun filled the house, it cast a light on the mess that is our family room. Everywhere I looked there was something that needed tidying. All I wanted was a nice, relaxing day, free of housework, but clearly there was much to do.
Sitting in the heart of the household chaos, unaffected by his surroundings, the Carpenter was engrossed in the stream of consciousness that his mobile phone’s sports app offered. He pretended he didn’t hear me enter the room. He heard me, alright. I stood before him, a goddess in my pink, fluffy bathrobe, with my birds nest hair and freakishly small eyes made even smaller with the puffiness that only a lack of sleep (he snores) and mid-life water retention could create. How could he miss the grand entrance of the hot morning mess he married? He couldn’t. He didn’t. And I wasn’t having his attempt to fake it.
So I broke the silence with a pitch of mild hysteria in my tone.
“Do you ever wish you were single? You never had children? You didn’t own a house? You didn’t have dishes to wash or a lawn to mow? You didn’t own anything more than your truck and whatever crap you could stuff in it?” I asked, realizing I was talking so fast that there was surely going to be a delay in his processing time. “Ever wish you had that life back?”
He looked up slowly from his phone, trying to determine if this was a trap or just the dumbest (as in most obvious answered) question he had ever heard. In a word, calmly delivered with true Carpenter coolness, he said, “yes.” And then just as slowly as he looked up from his phone, he looked back down at it, to return to the escapism that sports scores provide. But I saw it, that smile that tricked – er … charmed me into motherhood in the first place.
That’s how I knew he was lying. The truth is, the Carpenter wanted to raise a family more than anything. More than dreams of travel, career achievements or personal pursuits, he wanted to be a dad. From early mornings at the rink, tying up skates, to building the backyard rink, to dance recitals and theatre performances, to frozen nights in a horse barn, and overtime for all the extras, he’s loved every single moment of it. Even the tough moments. He has been present and committed to being the father he knew his children deserved, the father every child deserves. It’s the most beautiful thing to witness, as their mother.
Without a doubt the best thing he has taught our children is how to be in love. He models a healthy relationship by respecting their mother, encouraging and supporting my career, my growth in whatever inspires me, by being loyal in his actions, honest with his words and laughing with me (and occasionally at me), with kindness to the core.
And because my career is rooted in this column, I am grateful to the Carpenter for being my muse. Fart jokes and off-key singing aside, he is the incredible father he wanted to be and it’s an honour to share this journey with him.
That’s the truth.