One for Jill

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brian_clareyby Brian Clarey

She’s over there on the couch, still in her work clothes though it’s long past the hour when she likes to get cozy. I can see the glow from her laptop screen pushing against her face, furrowed in lovely concentration.

She’s insisting on returning emails and paying bills, while also watching “The Voice” with our oldest son, a weekly ritual that transcends her workload, which is, as always, formidable.

I don’t profess to know how she keeps the whole house going, but I suspect it has something to do with her boundless energy, her fighting spirit and the sheaf of lists she carries with her all the time, frequently referring to them and checking items off.

Today her delicate timing pattern was disrupted by a faulty electric plate, which meant that the crock pot never got started, pushing back dinnertime and monkeywrenching the complicated loop of destinations to which she ferries the kids every Monday night.

My own Mondays are consumed with writing and editing, meetings and sales. I can never get too comfortable — something unusual always happens.

But she pulled me out of my office tonight with her tale of woe, prompting me to get home to start dinner while she worked reconnaissance with the kids.

I’m not the only man I know who is fortunate enough to live with a woman like this, one who binds our little worlds with tanks of gasoline and calendar entries and little notations jotted on scraps of paper. But I’m definitely the luckiest.

Now, with a flicker of the laptop light, she’s up on her feet. Again. There’s a pile of laundry that needs folding, and it’s just not in her nature to sit on the couch and let it be. She sings along with the songs on “The Voice” while she folds pants and handicaps the contestants with our teenage son. She moves with easy deliberation as the piles of folded laundry, one for each of us, grows on the table. She breathes long and deep, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Every so often she smiles.

Soon there will be tomorrow’s lunches to make, the morning coffee to be prepped. Sleep will have to come soon so she can do it all again tomorrow.

I don’t know how she does it. I don’t know why she does it. But I’m powerfully grateful that she does.