My favorite part of being married is waking up in the morning. I get up early and spend a few minutes watching Dilly sleep. She doesn’t like waking up with me staring at her, but I can’t help myself. She’s so beautiful in sleep.
“Are you looking at me again, Les?”
“My hair’s all messed up and I have morning breath.”
“I like you with messed up hair and morning breath.”
“You’re an idiot. Go out and harvest.”
I worked out in my garden and orchard every morning. Farming is a difficult job especially when you are doing it alone. I had hoped to convince Dilly to help out, but she wanted to keep her job at the newspaper. I didn’t want to push the issue. I just hoped Dilly would see reason when we had kids together.
There are a lot of adjustments when you start living with someone. Maybe living together before marriage would have helped us get over these little hurdles, but I don’t believe in living together before marriage. So it was difficult at first when I realized that Dilly was so used to having a maid that she didn’t know how to clean up after herself. Coming downstairs and seeing a dirty dish would bother me. I also hated that I was the one who seemed to be doing all of the cleaning since I was working from home.
One morning I had had enough, and we had our first major fight as a married couple.
“Dilly! Would it kill you to do the dishes even one time! I am always picking up after you!” I snapped.
“What! I have to go to work, Les. I can’t do the dishes all the time. I don’t have time to do a lot of chores. You’re home most of the time.”
“That’s no excuse Dilly!” I was exasperated. “What do you think I do all day? I don’t sit around all day. I work, too.”
“That’s not fair, Les.” Dilly looked offended and hurt, but I really felt that she didn’t understand everything I did all day.
“You’re right, Dill. It’s not fair. It’s not fair that in addition to working all day in the fields, I also have to clean up the entire house. Not to mention fixing up everything and even doing all the cooking. I am not your house boy. I’m your husband. We’re supposed to be partners.”
That’s when she started to cry. Why do women do that? Do they know that us guys don’t know how to counter that particular weapon? The fight ended with her running upstairs in tears. I stood in the kitchen for awhile, then I sighed and did the dishes. I went up and apologized for yelling at her and making her cry. She apologized to me for making me feel like I was cleaning up after her—which made me feel like a big jerk for saying that.
Things did get better. Dilly must have heard what I was saying after all because she asked me to show her how to do some of the things like cleaning the shower or the toilet. I showed her how to do laundry and then we split up the jobs. I still cleaned up the dishes and made all the meals, but at least she was pitching in. I still felt like a jerk.
The one thing that Dilly said she wanted to do, though, is cook. She kept saying that she wanted to learn, but then she’d get nervous about burning something, so she’d give up and let me do it. I kept trying to tell her that cooking is something you learn by doing. Mom had cooked for me all of my life. I didn’t start cooking for myself until she passed.
But Dilly was afraid of failing. I didn’t think she’d do that bad of a job, but she wouldn’t listen to me.
A few weeks after our fight and Dilly’s compromise about doing some of the chores, the thing I had hoped for since before I moved to Twinbrook finally happened. Dilly and I were going to have a baby! Dilly had suspected she was pregnant, but she hadn’t told me anything until she was sure about it.
Dilly told me on a Saturday when we were in the Twinbrook Library. We go there often since we both love to read. It’s a relaxing way to spend time together. Anyway, Dilly said she had a book she wanted me to read.
“Here,” she said, handing it to me. I didn’t really look at it, just opened it up to the first chapter. “The First Trimester” was the title. I was just a little puzzled. What is this book? I thought. That’s when I turned back to the cover. It had the silhouette of a pregnant woman on the front. What an idiot I was!
“Dilly,” I stammered, looking up from the cover. “Does this mean what I think it means?” Dilly gave me that mysterious, knowing smile women like to use against us men when they know what we don’t.
I got up from my chair and pulled her out of hers. “Are you pregnant, Dill?” I was so excited that I forgot that I felt like such an idiot for not noticing the book or how Dilly was dressing in looser clothes lately. Why hadn’t I picked up on that?
“We’re going to have a baby, Les!” We danced around the library like fools for a few seconds. Then I stopped. I felt a sudden panic.
“Is the baby ok? Are you ok? Are you allowed to bounce around like that? Should we go to the doctor?” I asked question after question without even taking a breath.
“Relax, Les. Everything is fine. Breathe.”
I took a deep breath. Then I leaned in close to Dilly’s stomach. “Hello Baby,” I whispered.
“Les, you’re such an idiot,” Dilly said fondly and ruffled my hair.
Pregnancy was good to Dilly. She finally learned to cook. She said she didn’t want her son or daughter having a mom who couldn’t even use the stove. So, she went to the Bistro for a cooking class. It took a few weeks, but afterwards she started making a few of our meals. I was so proud one morning when I came down to do some harvesting and found Dilly laying out a freshly made plate of waffles.
“Dilly, this is the best breakfast ever,” I enthused.
As a result of Dilly being home on maternity leave, we spent a lot of time together. Dilly didn’t want to become one of those women who gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, so she asked me to work out with her. I didn’t care if she gained a little weight, but I did agree to work out. I wanted to make sure she didn’t over-do it and hurt the baby. I worried even though our doctor assured us that exercise was good for the baby.
I think I was an attentive, if a little over-zealous husband during Dilly’s pregnancy. I made sure that I massaged her back whenever it ached. I also talked to the baby all the time. I couldn’t wait for the day that I could hold my son or daughter in my arms.
Of course I was hoping for a boy. I don’t know what man doesn’t want a son. Dilly also wanted a boy. She said, “I want a little boy just like his daddy.” I really loved her.
Dilly went into labor in the middle of the night. I had our bags all packed and ready to go. I was so proud of myself for not panicking when Dilly told me that it was “time.” I called a cab to come take us to the hospital (we still don’t have a car). We were in labor for 4 hours and then we were blessed with the safe delivery of our baby girl, Sydney.
I couldn’t have been happier. Yes, I wanted a boy, but when they placed Sydney in my arms, I couldn’t have loved any son more. She was so tiny and precious! My heart just filled up when I looked into her eyes. Dilly said the look in my eyes when I held Sydney for the first time was worth all the pain she had felt.
“That’s what love looks like, Les.” I knew exactly what she meant.
Once we were released from the hospital, we came home and took our newborn daughter up to her newly remodeled room.
And then we attempted to get a decent amount of sleep before she woke up.
We were proud, but exhausted parents.