I spent this past Saturday night in a very crowded and warm church, sitting on an impossibly uncomfortable pew. It wasn’t some religious fervor that drove me there and, trust me, I do have better ways of spending a lovely summer evening. But my husband, Drew, is a member of a community chorus that held its concert this weekend and, as his wife, I felt like I had to be there.
I wanted to be there.
As I sat there, trying to ignore the spasm that was forming in my back, I thought of all the events I attended to show my support for him. There were the firefighter conventions in Pennsylvania, where he participated in the “battle of the barrel” with his fellow firefighters (two opposing teams try to keep a barrel in the air by aiming high-powered fire hoses at it). While he was engaged in some manly bonding time, I spent the day fighting mosquitoes, trying to find some shade and a not-too-revolting bathroom.
Lately, since he’s taken up bagpiping and joined a Highland band, I spent plenty of time helping him get dressed in his Scottish warrior outfit: shirt, kilt, knee socks, the funny white socks that go over his shoes and have several tiny buttons, the sporran that goes under the huge belt and buckle, little tassels that go under the socks just so, and a hat. It takes about 30 minutes to get ready. For his first parade, we had to get up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday to drive to New Hampshire. I spent the day carrying various pieces of bagpiping equipment, marching along with the band (uphill for miles) and taking pictures. The day ended at a pub in Portsmouth, with about 20 men in kilts, drinking Guinness. I was in need of a drink by then as well.
I can’t say that none of these little adventures are fun. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy men in skirts? And I have seen places and met people that I otherwise would not have. But sometimes I wonder if husbands show the same devotion to their spouse’s hobbies as wives do. Or am I overdoing it by supporting Drew and going to all these events without complaint?
It might also be that my hobbies are more solitary pursuits. They don’t require a special dressing routine or long drives — pottery and writing are not exactly spectator sports. Drew dutifully encourages me to continue with my pottery and my writing, but I don’t know for sure that he has read all of these columns, for example. I can’t really say that this bothers me — I like to write, it’s my “thing” that I do for me, not for any other reason. And I assume that he wouldn’t really care if I skipped a concert or stayed in bed for a parade.
But there is something about being there for him so that when he looks out in the crowd, he sees a familiar face that is rooting just for him. He usually gives me a little wink to let me know that he has spotted me in the crowd and then it feels like it’s just the two of us there and he is singing or playing just for me.
I suppose all this will change once we have a Baby Drew to take to soccer games or band concerts. Then it will be the two of us on the sidelines and I think I’m going to let Drew figure out the soccer uniform. That’s only fair, don’t you think?