The heat warnings of late have really turned up the heat of my affection for my husband, the Carpenter. It’s not just the physical attraction I have for this man, (though what can I say? I still think he’s hot. It’s the tool belt). It’s more than that, (it’s mostly that).  As the temperatures soar, so too does my gratitude for a life partner who works tirelessly for our family, especially in this heat.

The other day, while I was at work in my comfortable air-conditioned office, the Carpenter’s phone number popped up on my mobile phone. He never calls me during the day, but he’s been on a job out of town for weeks. We’ve not seen much of each other lately. It should have been a welcome sight, his name on my screen, but I felt a twinge of panic. I said “hello” about five times. No answer.

Instead, I heard this: squitch-squitch-rattle-thump. The sound repeated over and over again. I knew that sound like I know my own heartbeat: the Carpenter’s footsteps. I knew the measured pace, the steadiness of his stride. He had unknowingly pocket-dialled me. Now here I was eavesdropping on him while tucked inside the pocket of his leather toolbelt. I knew the squitch-squitch of the hammer swinging in its metal cradle, and the nails rattling around in the pouch, with the tape measure bouncing about, followed by the thump of his work boots on the hard ground. (Wait, is it getting hot in here? I am feeling a little flush. Swoon.)

I confess, I listened to this for a few minutes. It was comforting. When the Carpenter is away for work we don’t talk every day. For me, this was the best conversation we’d had in weeks, (I’m sure he’d agree). I knew that the temperature on that job site was over 40 degrees. I knew he was standing in a trench in full sun, getting set to pour concrete. No relief. No shade on site. Likely no breaks because, when the truck rolls in, the concrete has to move. I knew he’d been at it since long before I was even at my office. I knew he’d still be at it after I left. That’s who he is.

It got me thinking; how often do we thank our partners for the work they do to help support the families we’ve made together? How often do we tell them? Say the words: thank you. I appreciate you. I respect the work you do. Need incentive? Gratitude expressed is a form of foreplay. You’re welcome.

I know this pandemic has given some couples too much togetherness. Fair enough. But it’s also taught us to appreciate what we have, and in some cases, what we’ve lost. In our house, there was a temporary loss of employment, income, changes we couldn’t anticipate. Now in the mad rush to get the economy back up, my spouse works long hours far from home because that’s what we need him to do. I’m grateful.

This summer marks 28 years since the under-grad met the apprentice and we started to build a life together. There is no secret to our relationship. We are the best of friends. We’re independent in our ways but together in our goals. We’ve never tried to change one another. And we will never let anyone change us either.

Never take your partner for granted. Find the words. Speak them. Gratitude is hot.

WriteOut of Her Mind