"What is a wife?" Oryoki asks. "What should a wife be?" These are questions that I find myself asking internally quite often, as I navigate the role, which 3 years into my marriage I still feel fairly new at.
There are many hats I wear in my marriage. I am the breadwinner, the CEO, the seducer. I am the keeper of the checkbook and the choregiver. I am the one who remembers birthdays on both sides of the family. I am the decider. I am the listmaker, and the organizer. I am the maker of holiday plans and dental appointments, the one who remembers to feed the dog. I am the person who knows where the car titles are, and the insurance policies. I am who knows where to find his black socks and his cummerbund one hour before a performace requiring concert dress. I am the doer of taxes. I am the one that keeps it all together. Some days I am the one so overwhelmed by all the responsibility of it that I just want to run away--find a nice quiet mountaintop on which to be a hermit, and not have to be in charge any more.
However, I am also the holder of the secrets that Mr. L tells no one else. I am the keeper of more than one sacred trust. I am the one who wants more than anything in the world to see his kind face at the end of my day. I am someone who still gets a little thrill at seeing a new email from him in my inbox during a long day at work, or hearing his distinctive ringtone coming from my phone. I am the woman for whom he wrote a love song and two poems. I am the one for whom he cooks breakfast, and lunch every day. I am the one that he made up that dish for, with the chicken and portobellos and the rich lemon cream sauce. I am the person who got him to eat beets, and because of whom he learned to make pie crust from my mom. I am the sharer of crazy schemes to grow all our food in our little backyard that doesn't even have a garden yet, and the person for whom he learned to rewire a porch light fixture. I am the woman that will wear red lace for him, and only him, because I am comfortable in my assurance that he will be enthralled, and not laugh, even though I feel silly.
Are all of our needs perfectly met by each other? No, of course not. I know he wishes that I would get as interested in the classical music he loves so as I am in silly pop trivia, so we could discuss it. Better yet, he wishes I'd take up playing an instrument again, so he could write duets for us to work on together. I wish he had an opinion on rock guitar gods, so we could discuss it, and that he'd come out to the bar with me to listen to cover bands and dance. I have different ideas about money than he does many days. Our compatibility is not absolute. But our commitment is. We negotiate and work around the challenges.
I am a wife. This means I have a safe space in my life, a home that has nothing to do with houses. We create it anew between us everyday.