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Father’s Day: Toothbrushes and toilet paper

Father’s Day: Toothbrushes and toilet paper

Last year, I flew my 3 year-old son MJ to Atlanta to visit his grandmother while I joined my Reservist unit for drills.  Then I went back to Atlanta and spent a few days, before my son and I headed home.

During the three weeks we were away, my husband lived the life of a bachelor.  No getting up at 6 a.m. with our son on weekends or endless honey-do taskers from me. Apparently, he also enjoyed not going to the grocery store because he didn’t go once in three weeks.

Mike picked us up at the airport.  Heading out, I should have realized we had absolutely no food at home as soon as he said, “Why don’t we go out for dinner, you’ve had such a long day.”  And if that didn’t tip me off, the next question was a give-away, “What color was your toothbrush again?”

Turns out Mike used his toothbrush to help the delivery guy clean a spot off the couches that were delivered in my absence.  And so as not to neglect his dental hygiene, the only sensible thing to do was to use my toothbrush instead of his. For two weeks.

Apparently stepping foot into a grocery store isn’t an option when your wife and child are out of town.  Not when there are so many fast food joints around.  And when you can use someone else’s toothbrush.

It’s clear my husband and I have different approaches to running our household.  For Mike, the dishwasher has to be loaded just so, with all the dishes facing a certain way…and don’t even try putting a cup on the bottom drawer.

And maybe it has something to do with his military training – I guess OCS never wore off for him – because he also insists that the toilet paper roll face down.  However, Mr. Particular does not understand the importance of NOT using the monogrammed towels. (“Why do we have them if we can’t use them?” he dares to ask).

We are also on opposite sides of the spectrum on how to discipline our children.  MJ is now almost 4 and his brother Walker eight months old.  Mike favors time out and talking things through.  I favor, ahem, more direct action.

And, I won’t even get into the political realm …!

But, on this Father’s Day, I can’t help but think of how grateful I am to be married to this toothbrush-stealing, monogrammed towel-using, dishwasher control-freak.  I can’t help but be thankful for each day that we fight over mundane things like what flavor Pop-Tarts to buy and how to maintain a unified front to our 3 year-old terror.

Before the baby was born, Mike and I took MJ to a water park.  During lunch, watching my two favorite men share a huge turkey leg, I couldn’t hold back a huge smile as I saw how MJ was already trying to imitate his father.  Unfortunately, that also included wiping his dirty hands on his bathing suit.

But really, if I could wish one thing for our sons it would be to grow up to be just like their father.  Mike is a calming influence, one I desperately rely on as I sprint headlong into cause after cause.

On the way home from the water park, a Dixie Chick’s song filled the car, “I come to find a refuge in the easy silence that you make for me…and the peaceful quiet you create for me,” filled the car.  MJ was asleep and it was just the two of us, sitting quietly, comfortably enjoying each other’s presence.  Those are the moments when I truly fall in love with my husband all over again.

And what am I getting such an exceptional father on his special day?  His very own monogrammed toothbrush of course!

Editor’s note: This column also appeared in the Virginian-Pilot.

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