How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Lose My Shit and Count the Ways

car
Do you think the car’s alright?

My husband wears many hats in our relationship. For instance, he is Cooker of the Steak and Killer of the Bugs. He is Chancellor of All Things Camping and Chairman of the Ball. Minister of Family Vacations is only one of the titles he wears as jauntily as a trilby.

While acting in his capacity of Minister, often with little to no guidance from me other than don’t spend too muchbut make it nice! he more often than not pulls a spectacular holiday rabbit out of his hat. Which is exactly how we found ourselves 120 kilometers outside of Reykjavik this summer, on our way to spend three northern nights in the cabin Björk (it had to be Björk really), situated among the lava fields, a remote and picturesque location in the shadow of Mt. Hekla.

(NB: Outside of Reykjavik, essentially everywhere is remote. When it comes to Iceland, remote is the most redundant of adjectives.)

On our way to Björk, we stopped to marvel at natural geysers. We sniffed at the sulfurous air and gazed at wind-swept cliffs that made Heathcliff’s moors look like mole hills. And, in true family fashion, managed to get on the ONE ring road the country boasts going the wrong way. We back tracked, took a few more wrong turns (off the ONE road) until we eventually reached the point on our map with an asterisk and a handwritten note.

**the last 10 km to cabin Björk is on gravel.

Now, gravel to me conjures up driveways with tightly packed scree. Gravel is pebbles. Gravel is small bits of asphalt and perhaps tiny bits rock. But not in Iceland. Oh, no. In Iceland, gravel means small boulders and bits of volcano that have broken off into fist-sized chunks.

Within 500 feet, the first bit of ‘gravel’ hit the under carriage of our rental car with a melodic ping. The noise resulted in a slight shoulder twitch from my husband. Another 500 feet and several more glacial sized rocks kicked up, scraping against the muffler and abrading all the unknown yet important bits and pieces that make up a car. The pings turned to plonks and then to thunks and my husband stood on the brake and let out an audible “FUCK.

I panicked. Because I panicked, the kids panicked. I had visions of dying out there in the (remote) shadow of Mt. Hekla. I had visions of struggling ten kilometers with suitcases stuffed full of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, dodging meteor-sized ‘gravel’ while the car smoked in the distance. I sat on my hands and practiced deep breathing.

No, honey. I don't think you're theory is crazy. Not at all.
No, honey. I don’t think your theory is crazy. Not at all.

After another grueling 9 kilometers, which ended with a steep incline, a cattle grate and a dip in which we expected to leave behind the front axle, we eventually made it to Björk. Our momentary shouts of “Huzzah!” and celebratory cheer were somewhat dampened by the realization we would need to make the journey at least 6 more times during our stay.

As with most things, it didn’t seem so bad when we rehashed the whole escapade over a glass of wine and soak in the hot tub (other than the gravel roads, have I told you how awesome Iceland is?) Relaxing in the late-night summer sun, I confessed to my spouse exactly why I was so freaked out when he freaked out.

“You are the eye in my hurricane!” I said.

Ok, I didn’t say that exactly, but it’s what I meant. Though I would not count patience among my husband’s virtues, he is always—always—-a calm port in the storm of our family.

And by family, I mean me. And by storm, I mean me.

Because of all the roles I listed above, of all the hats he wears, the most onerous by far is his role as Official Calmer Downer of Irrational Wife.

I completely rely on my husband to be the voice of reason in the maelstrom of emotions that is life as a pre-menopausal, sometimes-prone-to-bouts-of-madness-and-irrational-rage-mother. I have total and complete faith in his ability to extract our family from any situation. Perhaps it is unfair to expect that of him, but that does not make it any less true. It’s also why his anxiety on that gravel road increased my own ten-fold.

I usually have a fair amount of patience of the every day life-with-kids kind. But every now and again, something (usually ridiculous and irrational) causes me to lose my shit. I jump off an end so deep I’m in danger of getting the bends on the way back up. And my husband, bless his size XL cotton socks, is always there haul me up straggling and dripping from the depths. He listens to me vent about the world’s injustices, about the crazy things happening in my home country, about stuff going on with the kids. He listens to me rail about our crappy medical insurance, how much I loathe the approach of the Yuletide season, and my un-founded conspiracy theories as to why our son didn’t make the soccer team.

how do I love theeHe knows when to nod and when to eventually step in and metaphorically slap me across the face with a Moonstruck like “snap out of it.”

Being Official Calmer Downer of Irrational Wife isn’t an easy job. But it’s one I am forever thankful he has taken on. It’s only one of the many reasons I love thee.

And by thee, I mean him.

(Another is that he eventually found a smoother alternative to the gravel road of death to and from BjörkHuzzah!)

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14 thoughts on “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Lose My Shit and Count the Ways

  1. Elyse October 5, 2015 / 6:18 pm

    Hats off to your husband!

    Like

  2. Claire Jahant October 5, 2015 / 7:06 pm

    It sounds sooo familiar…My husband is the same…the one that calm me down….Thank God he is not like me…I think we would not have made it that far….2 over stressed people at home… would not work in our expat life. But just like you, when he looses it…I freak out….it s not normal for him to stress or get scared…..thank God it does not happen so often. Cheers to our Husbands!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Torres October 5, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    I enjoyed reading a love story behind words. Aplausos!

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 6, 2015 / 7:51 am

      Thank you. There are a lot of them lurking in the background, those love stories. We are very blessed.

      Like

  4. urbanmanusa October 5, 2015 / 10:11 pm

    Maybe women could avoid the irrationality? Refrain from allowing the madness? Cuz news flash, you are adults. Just a thought.

    Like

  5. pinklightsabre October 5, 2015 / 10:53 pm

    Sweet, funny, and glad we got to hear about your time there some. I looked into going up there from Germany but you can’t just ‘pop in’ really – perhaps another time. I’m all about remote. Funny, you should find the one road that goes the wrong way. I’d be there with you on the shoulder, trying to figure out my phone.

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 6, 2015 / 7:53 am

      Ironically you won’t have any trouble with your phone in Iceland. Though remote, an astounding 97% of the country is 3G wired. I am too type A to be able to lose myself in losing myself. I’m all for it metaphorically, but loosening up to me is more going off to-do list than off-roading.

      Like

  6. Alice October 9, 2015 / 3:12 am

    Huzzah indeed! How much do I love hearing people talk about intimate partnerships they’re happy with??!

    Almost as much as I love Bjork’s give-no-fcuks attitude that time she wore a swan to the Academy Awards, that’s how much!!

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 9, 2015 / 7:34 pm

      I had to include the name of the cabin, it was too delicious not too. I hope that when we are old and gray, and haven’t killed each other physically or with passive aggressive barbs about leaving the toilet seat up, that when people ask us how we made it work, we will look them directly in the eye and say, “a fuck load of luck and an even bigger fuck load of work”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • urbanmanusa October 9, 2015 / 7:38 pm

        I understand couples joke about the quibbles and disagreements they have. But if you have to try TOO hard to “make it work” then still being together when you are old and gray is not a success.

        Like

      • Dina Honour October 9, 2015 / 7:54 pm

        If you’ve read any of my posts before about my marriage, I don’t think you’d have any questions about the levity of my comments. That said, I think it’s important to point out that all successful relationships (marriages, partnerships, parent/child) take work. Far from worrying about putting in “too much” work, I think a lot of time people aren’t expecting the work that goes into a long term relationship. It’s a long way from butterflies in the stomach to swinging on the porch swing–there will be a lot of ups and a lot of downs along the way. But it depends on one’s definition of success as well–for some (not me) success would be defined as making it to the finish line of marriage (’til death do us part) without harm or foul. For others, success is finding lasting fulfillment–which may or may not be within the confines of a monogamous relationship. For the rest, the answer as to what they deem successful falls anywhere along the spectrum. My definition is that after nearly two decades together, I look at my husband across a room and am profoundly grateful we are together….and he routinely tells me he feels the same.

        Like

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