“So are you happy in your marriage? “, my dad asks me. We are seated across each other by the pier in Vancouver ,Canada. My mom, the husbadoo and Bandar are off enjoying a simulated ride. My dad who is petrified of rides of all kinds wanted to stay put and I decided to give him company, having experienced my fair share of simulated rides in Disney and the like.
So we have 45 minutes to kill and I have just walked him through exactly what I do at work. Now we are down to personal stuff!
“Yes, Dad ,very happy”, I say. I immediately start wondering why he would think otherwise. My parents like any doting parents hate seeing the daughter ever strain a muscle more than she has to. (I know my folks are not exceptions here – my friend told me about how her dad once burst into tears seeing his daughter load the dishwasher when he visited her in the US !So my parents on the whole are definitely a little saner and have so far atleast to my knowledge, not shed any tears over my “hardships” in my privileged , first world country life) .My folks have now grown to love my husband like a son, it’s taken us 7 plus years of marriage to get here but we are here now thankfully. But at the same time , they are my parents and I definitely come first in their book, so I know they notice and resent some things in our everyday household. These include but are not limited to the husbadoo coming in late from work most days of the week , the fact that I do most of the pick ups and drops for Bandar, me having to pack lunch boxes in the morning, me doing almost all the grocery shopping and the fact that I am the one who does the laundry usually . (Their disappointment about the laundry one surprises even me. Laundry at our house has only two inconveniences associated with it that really aren’t a big deal – one is getting the laundry down from the second floor down to the laundry room below and the second is folding, which I do while watching TV. So though I wouldn’t call the experience enjoyable , it is definitely not as hard as other chores – say planning and cooking meals ! ) . I hadn’t complained about any of this to them but somehow they saw these as potential opportunities for the husband to chip in more and have voiced this opinion to me.
It’s not that I am a saint and have never been pissed about having to do any of the above either. I have days when I am fed up of the routine and having my “single mom” kind of evenings as I call them with all child duty after a work day. But then I know that our arrangement for splitting household and childcare between us is because of the practicality and our schedules and it works for us somehow. And more importantly I know that one call or text from me that says I am tired or unable to do my share of the chores on any particular day, the husbadoo will move mountains to cover for me. By this I mean he will not hesitate to cancel important meetings to let his wife simply go attend a happy hour with her colleagues. He will stop by the Indian store at 9 pm when he gets off work to save me the drive if I request it. He will get up after barely 2 hours of sleep to pack Bandar’s lunch if I am running late or if I am simply grabbing a few extra zzzzs. He will stop to wash Bandar’s lunch box just before he rushes out of the house to simply save me the trouble if he can. He will tirelessly make Bandar and me perfect dosas and ensure we eat them hot off the stove on the nights that he takes over the kitchen . And he will take a sick Bandar to work with him, to allow me to settle into a new job and not have to take a day off. So our arrangement on most days of the week works for us and allows for flexibility if I so much as just hint at it. But I don’t unnecessarily pull that lever often. Why would I when I know I will be sending a guy to the grocery store after a 14 hour work day or asking someone who has been up half the night working to carry loads of laundry down for me. When I am physically and emotionally capable of handling these things, I simply do.
So my parents simply viewing our lives from the outside for 3 weeks of the year and wondering if I am happy makes me wonder how they are not seeing or choosing to see what I see. There is so much more that I want to say to them about our relationship, how strong it is and that chores don’t faze me and it is an equal household in so many ways. So much more to say to them that goes like this – Yes, yes, parents, I am truly happy! Believe it, please do. I made a good choice with this man and here is what it really boils down to:
I am married to a guy who simply puts me before anything else. This is over Bandar, over his family, over his career, pretty much anything else.
Him “letting me” slog it out on weekday evenings means nothing and is simply the way things have to be for us to lead an orderly life. He will go to the ends of the earth to stand up for me . I am often worried to tell him about small misunderstandings I have had with his family as he might blow his top at them and make a mountain out of a molehill, all in support of me. He supports my career in every way possible and wouldn’t hesitate in moving states or countries for me, like he has done in the past . He will get into loud verbal altercations about simply supporting your wife with other Indian guys who refuse to take this strong stand by their wife’s side over their own parents.
But of course I don’t say any of this and instead just leave it at “I am happy”! It is nice to have some attention and milk some sympathy when I can 🙂