Up at 5:00 a.m., to work by 6:00. He works hard all day for his employer, swamped with jobs. For weeks now.
This evening he arrives home at 8:30, and before he even enters the house he begins pulling out materials to work on our remodel project, something that has to be done by morning when our professionals will arrive ready to work.
How I miss him.
I hurry outside, some youthful spring in my step - "Where'd THAT come from?" - and give him a tender hug and a long kiss. Right there in the front yard. "You must come in and eat something. We'll get it done, don't worry. But you need to eat."
"Okay," he agrees, trying to hide fatigue behind a weary smile. Doesn't fool me.
While he eats I round up the gloves, the kids, and the tools. 15 minutes and we are all outside ready to go.
Half an hour later Tom says, "Oh no....." My stomach does a flip flop for an 'oh no' from Tom usually means *$@!*%*! and that something is terribly wrong.
I say ever so softly, really not wanting an answer, but needing to know, "What?"
"Oh...uh...never mind. Just something I forgot to do at work. It's nothing. Don't worry."
And back to work. Another half hour passes and we are done. I do the clean up so the kids can get ready for bed. Tom says he's going to move the cars around back. My clean-up is done. I desperately want a shower and my pj's but am determined that Tom gets that glory first.
"Where's Daddy?" I ask the girls. Two sets of shoulders shrug. "Is he with Joe?"
"No, I was just out there," Cassie answers. Caroline volunteers to search the entire property for the missing man, and does to no avail. He's MIA.
Fearing the worst, it's what we wives tend to do, I imagine him keeled over somewhere clutching his heart, straining to call my name, exhausted from all the work he's been doing non-stop for weeks. I talk rationally to myself...."Fear - Fantasy Experienced As Reality".....and I calm down.
Just about then, in he walks and plops a beautiful bouquet of flowers across my arms, big smile on his face, love and kindness in his gray eyes. I am stumped.
"For me? But .....what'd I do? You are the one who's working so har......"
"Because you have been taking care of everything without me while I've been working overtime and while I've been working on the house. I want you to know I appreciate all that you do."
"Are these flowers your 'something I forgot to do at work'?" He's nodding before I get all the words out.
Cry. What else can I do? He's working himself constantly, no playtime, no rest but a short night's sleep at the end of each day, and I get the flowers?
This is why I love him. Because even in the midst of exhaustion, with many months of labor behind and ahead, he stops, in the deep inky blue of twilight, drives to Safeway, and buys nothing but a bouquet of flowers for me.
Tears are dribbling......his thoughtful gesture lifts me and carries me still.......enjoy the photos.