Stuff

After He Endured My Crazy Family During Thanksgiving, I Procreated With My Husband

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And now, only eight hours later, and approximately 10 train whistles later, monk music was on at full blast. I sat in the kitchen, holding my head in my hands drinking coffee, as one-by-one my family members crawled forth from their beds, lured by the smell of coffee and the impossible sound of Monks chanting “Jingle Bells.” By 7 a.m. everyone was up, everyone except Dave.

My mom huffed about breakfast getting cold and the day being wasted. Just to get an escape, I went up to the room where Dave was sleeping — only he was wide awake.

“How long have you been up?”

“Two hours,” he said.

I gave him a hard look. He smiled back. I knew he was stubborn but even I was impressed. I gave him a kiss. “Hold strong,” I said and left the room. He didn’t come down for two more hours.

Nevertheless, Dave didn’t complain that whole week. Even when my mom and sister almost came to blows over the pork tenderloin. Screaming out 18 years of frustration over who forgot to buy maple syrup. While I gritted my teeth and popped migraine medicine, Dave hid in the basement with my 16-year-old brother, dying over and over in endless rounds of video games. I’m sure it was cathartic. But he never said a word.

On the trip home, I vomited from the anxiety. Dave pulled over and held my hair. “That was fun,” he said wryly. I looked up at him amazed. Not once had he been negative, not once had he even breathed a word about that monk music.

“I’m sorry,” I groaned.

“It’s okay,” he said. “It’s family.”

For the rest of the trip home, Dave drove with the window down in 30 degree weather, just so I could get some fresh air and calm my aching head.

For the first five years of our marriage, I was afraid to have a child—afraid of the responsibility and the challenge. Afraid of who we’d be when we became parents. But that Thanksgiving, watching my husband endure the shouts, train whistles, and monk music, I realized that he knew more than I did about what it meant to be family.

The next Christmas, I was pregnant. And I know that no matter who we become as a family—loud and crazy, kind and quiet—my husband will love enduringly.

(photo: Lisa F. Young/ Shutterstock)

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