In January, 2008, my husband flew from London – where we were living – to Los Angeles – where we were moving. It was a house-hunting trip. He was going to narrow down neighborhoods, visit preschools, and scope out cars, as we had sold ours before moving. I trusted him because I had to – someone had to stay in London with the boys. But he also knows me and my requirements, and I trusted that he would look for a walkable area with good air, a preschool that could serve our kids well, and a car with low gas mileage.
When he came back from the trip, he was filling me in as we stood in the kitchen of our little London rental while our two boys watched television.
“Santa Monica has good air, but it’s pricey. Plus, it can get touristy in the summer.”
“OK, what about Brentwood?”
“Brentwood is nice, but I don’t think you’re going to like it.”
“I think I need to take a pregnancy test in a few days.”
Without missing a beat, without so much as catching his breath, despite the fact that we had always planned on two children, he replied, “Well, then we aren’t getting a Prius.”
Six months earlier, he had looked at my body and commented, “You know, from the waist up, you’re thinner than you’ve ever been.”
Yesterday, I came downstairs to work while my husband was still sleeping. I read my email and then worked for an hour. Lilah woke up and I went up to shower with her in the room while J came down to feed Zach. As I closed the bathroom door, I said, “My agent dumped me.”
I wasn’t interested in hearing his sympathy yesterday morning, but by mid-afternoon, I was ready to talk. I called him. “I don’t think it’s time for me to look for a job,” I said. “What we’re doing is working. I’m not making a lot of money, but I’m here for the kids.”
“I think that’s right,” he replied. “Whether or not you sell the book, you are publishing.”
“But it’s going to mean we keep making the sacrifices we’re making, with you doing a lot of childcare and housework so that I have time to write. You have to be sure you really want this, because it means you have to keep supporting my writing even though we’re not getting much money out of it.”
“I understand that,” he said. “But since we’re not hiring any extra childcare for it, any money you do bring in is bonus. If you were in a job, most of the money would go to childcare, anyway”
Sometimes, the man steps in it, but when it counts, he knows exactly what to say.
You’ll need to click over to see the video, but it’s worth it.