I must preface any further comments by stating that I have the world's greatest husband. No, seriously. I do. I know that other women may think theirs is the greatest, but it's really no contest. He cooks, he cleans, he changes diapers, but he does much, much more. He is a great role model for our children, he is completely loving in every way, and he is probably the most thoughtful married man on the planet. Want proof? Last year for Christmas, one of my gifts was a phone number. I was told to call this number, and after my repeated threats to the contrary, I finally succumbed to the pressure. When I called and identified myself as I was instructed, the most wonderful voice came over the line. It was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Cochran, who I loved and idolized and who I wanted to be since I was six years old. We had kept in touch until I was in sixth grade, and then she moved away, and we lost contact. Eric heard me talk about her and how I wished I knew where she was, and he tracked her down. She lives in Florida, we had a wonderful conversation, and now I am back in touch with a wonderful woman who had always been an inspiration to me. That's just one of a million examples, but I think I have made my point.
So, when you are spending your life with someone who is reliably wonderful in so many ways, you don't expect things like this to happen ... on Valentine's Day.
Eric decided he wanted to leave a little early that morning, even though we usually leave around the same time. And guess what? I was running late (it's shocking, I know). So I said my goodbyes to him and the boys and rushed around the house by myself to finish getting ready to leave. A few minutes later, with my coat on and briefcase over my arm, I'm in a panic. Where in the world are my keys??? I always put them by the door, and they weren't there. I have all of my keys on one ring so that I won't lose them -- car keys, house keys, school keys. So, I dumped my purse, checked all of my pockets, looked behind all of the furniture, and they were nowhere. I called Eric's cell in complete stress mode, begging him to think where I could have put them. By this point, I looked at the clock and realized I will probably never make my forty minute ride to school in time. That's when the tears come. I don't have a regular job where I can call and say I'll be ten minutes late. If I am late, there are twenty-five kids waiting outside of my classroom who are counting on me. I am beyond upset, I am crying and screaming at myself for being so stupid, and all I can think to do is call Eric back a second time, whose job is a forty minute commute in the opposite direction to Philly. When he answers, he tells me he's so sorry. My keys are in his coat pocket, also commuting to Philly. (But in his defense, he was on his way home to bring them to me when I called.)
So, when these appeared at school after having arrived late with a substitute covering my homeroom, I was less than thrilled, even though they were a very "me" arrangement.Maybe it was a good thing that we didn't have a babysitter for Valentine's Day after all, in light of all of that. But like all happily married couples, we talked it out, and he admitted that I am always right (just kidding; the gift certificate for a massage at my favorite salon and spa didn't hurt, either). And luckily, my mother-in-law came down last weekend to spend some quality "Gemma-time" with the boys so that we could make up for the previous weekend and have a do-over for Valentine's Day at a great restaurant.
It was an evening out that we both truly needed, as hard as I find it to leave the boys. And guess what? The only key that Eric had of mine this time was the one he had all along ... the key to my heart.