This afternoon, while I was at therapy and getting my hair cut (more about the former at a later date), Doug rearranged some things in the house. Instead of having two large rabbit cages in the middle of the living room, we now have one, divided in half to house all four rabbits. The plan is to use the materials from the second cage to build a collapsable external pen, so that the rabbits can get a little more free-range time, without us having to worry about them chewing through cords or hiding under furniture. Dismantling the second cage also added about a dozen square feet to our living space.
But Doug didn’t stop there. He also took everything out of the kitchen cupboards, sorted through it, and rearranged it all; put hooks under some of the shelves to hang mugs on; and did three loads of dishes.
As he was showing me where all the plates and mixing bowls now live, and the shelf dedicated to baking supplies, and how the coffee pot and KitchenAid are now on top of the fridge so that we’ll have more counterspace, I couldn’t help but ask myself a question I’ve asked many times before:
What purpose do I serve in this relationship?
I don’t cook. I don’t clean. I don’t put out. I don’t give massages or help load the bikes into the truck on Wednesday mornings. I sometimes feel like the exact opposite of what I want to be (wife, mother); I sometimes feel inexcusably lazy, as I read or write or cross-stitch while Doug does all the housework. What kind of a partnership is this, honestly?
“I serve no purpose,” I said to Doug after he was done boasting about today’s accomplishments.
He’s heard this line before.
“Sure you do,” he said, giving me a hug.
“No… I don’t cook or clean or put out. I serve no purpose.”
He shook his head. “I like taking care of you,” he said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Yes, you would.”
“You’re right. I do wish you’d put out.”
“See?!” I said, laughing, and kissing him on the nose.
“You do serve a purpose,” he said again. “When you hugged me, it made me smile. Making me smile is a great purpose.”
“There are other things that could make you smile.”
“Not like you! I never used to smile this much before I met you.” And with that, he put his face right in front of mine, and grinned.
It was a sweet moment, standing in the middle of the kitchen, holding each other and smiling.
But I still wonder if there’s something more I should be bringing to the table here. Something more tangible, or measurable, than the occasional smile.