It was another beautiful Saturday morning, we had just woken up and were enjoying the fact that our kids are now old enough to pour themselves a bowl of cereal, go downstairs and turn on the T.V. As I lay there, I thought about how lucky we were and how fortunate I was to have so much joy in my life. My husband, who had just removed his sleep apnea mask, rolled over and smiled at me. We were really excited about the day because we had plans to head to our friends house in Palm Springs. A day of fun, sun and swimming was ahead, it was going to be a great day.
But then he had to ruin everything by starting the following conversation:
Husband: Do you think we could do it today?
Me: Today? I don’t feel like it, I am tired of doing it.
Husband: Tired of doing it? You have got to be kidding me. I never ask you to do it.
Me: Never, I feel like we do it every weekend. And what about the kids, they haven’t had breakfast yet. They will be running up here in a minute.
Husband: It’s never a good time for you. It will take 10 minutes. By the time we are done arguing about it, you could be finished.
Me: You owe me…let’s go and get this over with.
And so I got out of bed and followed my semi-nude husband into the backyard. We headed to the same secret spot we have been going to for the past 6 years. Hidden underneath a palm tree, behind some tall bushes, we started to do my least favorite thing:
I began to shave his back…
There are so many things I hate about this chore. I hate that he says things like “You have to admit, it is sort of fun, like mowing the lawn.” Really? If I liked mowing the lawn so much, why do I pay someone to do it for me twice a month? Or “Did you get my neck?” No honey, I skipped that part. I thought it would be fun to have you hairless except for 4inx4in section around your neck. I have always had a thing for Michael J. Fox during his transformation in Teen Wolf.
The best part about our clipping/shaving ritual is that my husband doesn’t want anyone to know what we are doing. As if it is a secret that we can keep. Forget about the fact that our backyard is on a hill and our neighbors are normally sitting way up high on their deck, drinking coffee and watching us. And our kids, they know something is up. It takes about 5 minutes for those two to coming running into the backyard in their Dora and Spiderman pajama’s desperately searching for their parents who have snuck outside and are now hiding behind a tree.
My husband doesn’t want the kids to know what we are doing, he’s afraid that it will scar them for life. Believe me, I agree, but I refuse to lie to them about this. I feel this is one time where they need to know the truth, even if it is hard to handle.
When my son says “Mom, why are you shaving dad’s back?” I stop, turn off the electric clippers and look him in the eye. I take a breath and begin to tell him this harsh reality. “Son, your father is a very hairy man. He is going bald on his head but seems to have no problem growing hair in his ears or on his back. You are lucky to have his genes because he is a kind, loving man…but you are also screwed in some areas, back hair being one of them. I am sorry you to had to hear this from me.” He reaches around, feels his smooth back and looks at me with relief. Thankfully, the inevitable is still years away.
When my sweet daughter stumbles upon us, and asks in her cute two-year old voice “Mama, wat yu doin?”, I stop and give her a hug. I tell her that marriage is not easy, sometimes it is hairy and wrapped around a sleep apnea cord. Marriage is about compromise. I tell her there are days you will find yourself doing things you find repulsive, tedious, and below you. I tell her a woman’s work is never done and life isn’t always fair. I smile and let her know that we, the woman of the world, are making strides but we still have work to do. By the look in her eyes, I know she understands.
And then I turn the clippers back on and begin my job. I make sure there is nothing left but a smooth back, clean shoulders, and very little hair on his biceps. I go over his neck two times for good measure and I cover my mouth while clumps of hair fly through the air towards me. I swallow my pride and I do a good job.
Because that’s the type of girl I am.
(P.S. If you can’t relate to this blog, if it doesn’t ring true for you…consider yourself lucky. Today you have something to be grateful for).