A month ago, I celebrated a birthday.
Well, actually, I spent my birthday cuddling my 15-month-old in bed while we both tried to recuperate from a miserable flu, while my husband wisely took our son out for a father-son outing so I could have a quiet house. By the time he got home, he was feeling the first symptoms of flu himself, but he still managed to finish assembling a creamy, light, espresso-and-rum-soaked birthday tiramisu, which he’d started early that morning. He spent the following morning in bed while I was starting to feel a little more like myself, and then, with a superhuman effort, he made the delicious dinner he’d planned…and then relapsed from having worked too hard, too soon, and spent the next day resting too. We didn’t have a birthday date. We had a birthday week-of-recovery.
So the day itself wasn’t exactly sublime. But the effort (and the high levels of deliciousness) made me feel pretty special all the same. And despite the all-around misery, Aaron came through with a perfect gift. My birthday present this year was a bit less tangible than usual, but it was the best ever. Aaron hired an electrician to come to our house and install ceiling lights in our tiny attic room, the first step in turning the space into a craft room for me. In less than five hours, he’d fixed faulty wiring that the previous owners had rigged, placed the track lighting I’d chosen in just the right place, and put a bright flat light in a space that was once a window. It’s showing signs of the beautiful room it will become. But more than just an attractive room, it’s a promise. A promise that someday I’ll have a tiny space that is mine, where someday (when kids can be left alone for more than 30 seconds without disaster descending) I will be able to work quietly, alone, and not clean up my mess. It will be a space for ongoing projects, for never-finished projects, for someday once again grading papers. A space for writing and planning. My own spot. An unbelievable luxury.
In the works, possibly to be completed by midsummer: Painted walls in two shades of green (neither of which is the one currently on the walls); wainscoting, which Aaron will build, on the lower half of the wall; a stained-glass window to place over the former window opening; and dark wood flooring. Eventually, storage cabinets and shelves, at waist height so they double as work surfaces.
Sometimes I shake my head in amazement at my good fortune, my blessing, to be married to a man who knows me well enough to know how important it is for me to have both time and space for quietness. Considering that our lives right now don’t allow for much of that, it’s not an easy thing to see — the importance of a quiet place. But he saw it, and acted on it.
I guess this post serves as a very public Thank You to my sweet and perceptive husband. I love you.