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My Husband Gets the Leftovers

Confession.

My husband gets the leftovers.

If there is any worse confession I’ve ever made, I’d be surprised. This sounds about as bad as it can get.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a solid “leftovers” girl. Overestimated dinner? Sweet! Lunch for tomorrow! Halloween candy the kids don’t like? Enter classroom candy prizes for free. Leftover wine?

Okay, don’t be silly. That’s not a thing.

But leftover Angie? Not nearly as desirable as last night’s grilled chicken or glow-in-the-dark Halloween Hershey bars.

Leftover Angie is NOT a prize. Trust me on this.

“Leftover Angie” consists of complaints about the day, worries about big decisions, papers that need graded, grumbling about laundry, and a dismal attitude about students calling each other liars.

When I phrase it like that, it makes me wonder…

“Who on God’s green Earth would want a ‘leftover Angie?’”

Well, funny you should ask.

Now, let me preface this by saying, I have NO idea how I convinced this amazing person to deal with “leftover Angie” everyday, but somehow he does.

He cheerfully tells me to have a good day each morning, and dutifully asks how my day was each night. Even on the nights that he knows the answer, (and probably dreads asking me) he still asks. Even on the nights he knows I’m going to rant and ramble and repeat myself about this, that, or the other that happened in my classroom today, he asks me how my day was.

He gets the leftover me. He gets the me that is emotionally exhausted, decision fatigued, grumpy, tired, and ready to tune out the world. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am typically a happy and positive persona.

It doesn’t really matter for dear hubby though, because if he doesn’t get dramatic and moody me leftovers, he gets my alter ego. Sometimes instead of leftover, exhausted me, my hubby gets the leftover enthusiastic me.

I come home from teaching and am charged up, wanting to replay every amazing moment of my latest drama production/classroom immersion/crazy idea. He patiently listens to me tell all the stories eight times while telling me what a great teacher I am.

Sometimes he deals with the dance mom leftovers. He has to hear about the latest dance mom drama or the latest daughter meltdown. He puts up with me watching daughter dance videos for hours (after I’ve been gone all day watching the dance in person).

He might shake his head at hearing me watch her solo video for the fourth time that night, but he loves me even through his headshakes.

Somehow, he loves me all the same everyday even though he gets the leftover parts of me.

He gets what’s left of me after being a mom, being a teacher, and being all the other roles I play.

Sometimes there’s a lot of me left, but sometimes he’s left with the kind of leftovers that no one wants. You know what I’m talking about—the sort of salad-dressing-soaked, next-day croutons. The kind of leftover chicken that was amazing the night before, but after being reheated in the microwave the next day is dry, lackluster, and altogether unappealing.

Some days that’s me. I’m the soggy crouton and the dried out chicken. Yet, he still chooses me.

He chooses to be patient with me when he’s tired of hearing me tell him the same sob story about my classroom problems day after day. He chooses to be excited with me about my crazy ideas—whether they involve fourth grade art projects or home renovation aspirations. He chooses to do the hard stuff (even though he doesn’t want to either) because he knows that the hard stuff sends me into a tailspin.

He does the financial paperwork to make sure we have houses and cars. He does the phone calls to figure out why our water bill is abnormal. He deals with the camper repairs, the vehicles that need maintenance, and the fall out that happens when your air conditioner quits working in August when it’s 114°.

He deals with me. And all the things that make me, well…me.

He does it without trying to change me. Somehow, he seems to love all the parts of me. He loves the parts of me that I don’t even love myself.

It doesn’t mean that life is perfect for us. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have to do hard stuff. And it definitely doesn’t mean that we don’t have those days when we both want to scream, “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY!!!!”

But nine out of ten times, we don’t even have to yell out to holy powers. (Which is good because I’ve probably used up all my good graces by now.).

Instead, we have some kind of strange, unspoken trust that allows us to sit together silently on the couch while we watch a rerun on the Food Channel and give each other space. Space to be ourselves without judgement. Space to remind ourselves that love is not maintained within the joyous celebrations, but rather within the mundane.

Love is maintained within the day to day. It’s maintained within the notion that we love each other wholly. The whole wedding vows of “for better or worse” should really say something more like, “in times of writing report cards and house hunting and when your spouse doesn’t have any idea what’s for dinner…again…”

Those are the moments that love is made and maintained. The leftovers are what marriage is all about. If you can love your spouse to the extent that even the leftovers feel like a five-course meal, well, then you’ve found the smorgasbord.

Even leftovers have a place in the kitchen. You just have to find the right chef.

I know I have.

Be grateful (for leftover lovers), water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.

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