My husband is living a double life. Well, more like a second life, I guess would be more accurate. No, there’s no other wife or kiddos on the side. He’s not an agent for the CIA… as far as I know… and he’s not having a second childhood. He’s just living his second life.
I met my husband when I was straight out of college at my first teaching job. First and last, as it turned out, but that’s another tale. He had a few more years experience on him– like 20. He was the mysterious older man, who could teach me a thing or two about…
Okay, even I can’t lie like that with a straight face. And I’m a fiction writer.
He was the only other single teacher in town, so in order to socialize, he and I kinda paired up. Who knew? Up to that time, he was firmly entrenched in bachelorhood and, while he wouldn’t have minded marrying, just never found the right girl who could coax him from his bowling, pool and beer at least three nights a week. Or the right girl who wouldn’t care that there was bowling, pool and beer at least three nights a week. He was a bit of a party animal, you see, but was in his early 40s and was thinking that slowing down might not be the worst idea.
I was in my early 20s and looking to get into trouble. I’d led a repressed childhood (sorry, Mom, but I had) and had just discovered the joys of — look away now, Mom — S-E-X. He was a single guy. I was a single girl. Neither one of us were looking to get entangled, so it was a match made in heaven, right?
Except we both got stuck. He propsed to me less than a month after our first date, and I said yes, though I will swear until my dying day that it was because I was sick as a dog, feverish with pneumonia at the time. Which is true. God knows if I’d had my faculties about me, I would have never agreed to marry a man I’d known for less that six weeks!
But we did it. My party animal soon-to-be-hubby stopped partying. He apologized to me one night as we sat watching a video, sure I wanted to be out dancing until 3 AM. I was never a dance until 3 AM kinda girl, though, so the fact that he wanted to slow down and stay in was fine with me.
Our first child was born a week before our first anniversary, and ever since, my husband has been fully entrenched in being a dad. He quit teaching, as did I, because there was too little money in it for the nightmarish headaches it offered. He works in manufacturing, now, and is a very proud papa of 3. Not that one would have guessed it looking at him at 40, but he hardly ever drinks, and when he does it’s a beer or two instead of a six pack at a time.
But does he have some stories!
I honestly don’t think I would have liked my husband had I met him when he was younger. Oh, he would have been fun to get into trouble with, which was what I was looking for at the time I met him. But a life long commitment? No way, Jose.
So when his old teaching buddies called him a week ago out of the blue — a week before his 55th birthday — I got to see a glimpse of that party animal kid he used to be. Which is fine. I don’t mind glimpses. But I’m glad I’m with the grown up; the stable, calm guy I know. It turns out I was never one to get into trouble with anyone, anyway.
So today my husband turns 55, although the rat looks younger than I do. What’s up with that? A lady from my mother’s church told me once it must be nice to have an older man to take charge and lead me through life, to which Ron and I both laughed. We both know who wears the pants and is the tyrant in this relationship. and we both know who let’s me do it without complaining. People who know about our age difference sometimes give me odd looks, but then they get to know us. I think it takes a little more stable, settled man to put up with me, to be honest. And I didn’t have to reign in a child other than the ones I gave birth to, which suits me fine. Well, I don’t have to reign in the husband as a rule, but he is a guy.
But I’m glad he had that first life. The life without the complications of a wife and children, the life of staying out too late and drinking too much. And I’m glad I get to glimpse that once in a while. Because I think he appreciates more what he has in his family because of it. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t appreciate him nearly as much, either.
Happy birthday, honey.