Dear Husband, Love of My Life, Seed to Our Child, Current Bane of My Existence,
It’s been a thousand years since this pandemic began, and I have aged as well as a Backstreet Boy’s hairline during a comeback tour. I know you’ve worried about my descent into the dark underbelly of pandemic life. (Everyone has; don’t think I didn’t notice your mother’s pointed Christmas gift of a beauty box subscription.) The other day, you walked in on me hiding under the covers by myself, rustling the sheets with the gusto of a teenage boy with a sock. From the curious glint in your eye, you may have thought it was something more salacious. It was, in fact, me huffing Doritos like there was about to be a nationwide shortage.
I have never seen you escape a room so fast. And yet, did I stop eating my Doritos? The telling orange crumbs on my pillows say otherwise.
And you, darling; well, suffice it to say, your log-splitting snores have become the soundtrack to our nighttime intimacies. Remember when our song used to be “Reflecting Light”? I walked down the aisle to it, trailing dreams and romance in my wake? Now, we listen to the strains of Bubble Guppies while making meaningful eye contact over a bowl of Goldfish crackers. And that’s when we actually sit down to a nutritious meal. This body you once lusted for? It’s now sponsored by Betty Crocker.
This body you once lusted for? It’s now sponsored by Betty Crocker.
Our parenting has seen better days. One night, our daughter asked us where babies come from. We looked at her blankly until she backed away, consulting Peppa Pig for the answer. Yes, we do have a British nanny. She’s animated, pink-cheeked, and an absolute riot. Bonus: she’s available 24/7 and poses absolutely no COVID risk. Our child wears only underwear most of the time, in the middle of a Midwest winter, acting as if she’s training for some baby Polar Run. But do we bat an eyelash? Clothing is now optional in our household—and not in the sexy way.
The thing about pandemic life is that we see so damn much of each other. I’ve scrolled past posts from friends raving about their newfound connection with their partners, the #blessed opportunity to just be together. My love, I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to be apart from you. That sounds ungrateful and unkind, doesn’t it? I don’t mean we’d live in separate houses or anything—though did you notice that there’s a new For Sale sign on the neighbor’s yard and our daughter could literally just walk across the street to visit you—but I think we could have separate quarters at least. You can take the basement unless I have an outrageous and unprecedented need to hop on the Peloton. I would outfit my new boudoir with a gigantic bed, a minifridge full of those convenient tiny champagne bottles, and a stack of magazines that loom even taller than my persistent worries about the fate of our nation.
My love, I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to be apart from you.
But herein lies the truth, Husband Dearest. After a day or two of blissful aloneness, I would seek you out again, even with those bone-rattling snores (seriously, can you get checked for sleep apnea? Shaquille O’Neal has it, so there is no shame), that weird toenail thing, and your curious ability to tune me out even when I am two feet away. When we made those vows, we didn’t have a clause about a pandemic, but I’m guessing this is what they mean by “for worse.” Still, we’re incredibly lucky. Healthy, safe, and comfortable (in a manner of speaking). More than all that, we are inconceivably in love. Some call it Stockholm syndrome; I call it romance.
What I’ve learned during this pandemic is that marriage can be eye-crossingly banal (I don’t mean to leave the bathroom door open in the middle of the day, but what if my Amazon package comes while I’m peeing?) and cruel. It can challenge us to accept the unflattering aspects of humanity. And yet, it is within this terrible humanity that I have found your deepest acceptance. That is love. That is the definition of Reflecting Light.
And yet, it is within this terrible humanity that I have found your deepest acceptance. That is love.
Husband, thank you for your patience and trips to the grocery store, though I really do think you could be spending much more time in the candy aisle and less time mulling over the tiolet paper with the most ply-to-wipe ratio. Thank you for sleeping beside me every night, even as I kick you awake out of blinding rage at your snores. Thank you for sharing your affection and attention with us through it all.
In time, this will pass, and I may be motivated to wear pajamas that aren’t stained with Cheeto dust. We both look forward to that day.
All my love,