Letter to my husband

Dear Coach,

4:50 am: for the first time in 3 months, the alarm goes off. Now your routine changes, from waking at sunrise to waking an hour before it. You will get up, shave, shower, eat breakfast, and drive to work in darkness. Most days, you won’t really mind. Some, you will.

5:30: I get your lunch bag out of the drawer where it has been stowed for 3 months, and make you a sandwich and a fruit salad, your lunch today, as it has been for many years, every week, Monday through Friday. While I do that, you are putting 10 or 12 greens and fruits into the blender for your breakfast. We work together in the kitchen without speaking, the motions of our tasks a choreographed routine we do from muscle memory.

6:00: we eat breakfast together in silence. You read the sports pages; that’s all you have time for. By 6:20, you are upstairs brushing your teeth and putting your backpack together, finishing getting ready for the day. By 6:35 you are out the door; I kiss you and wish you a good day, knowing it will be another 12 hours until I see you again. Maybe longer. And knowing all our weekday mornings for the next nine months will look like this.

I listen to the birds waking as I return to my coffee and the newspaper; I’ve got a lot to do today but I’m not quite ready to get started. And, I’m indulging in a little sadness, facing this tangible reality that summer is over and you must again put on the hat that says Teacher.

The parents of your volleyball players joke with me, every year it seems, that they are going to “borrow” you from me for a few months. “But don’t worry,” they laugh, “at the end of the season we’ll give him back!” Every August, when summer ends, I have to hand you over again, to your students and players (and their parents). I’m not ready. I never am, this time of year.

Still, I say a quick prayer of thanks, for the blessing of being married to a teacher. I love that we get to spend (most of) the summer together, and I even love living in the special rhythm of the school year with you. I love the stories you bring home of your students, and colleagues, and all the adventures of teaching and learning you’ve gotten to experience for the past 28 years.

Thank you for sharing your summer with me. It was a good one this year, wasn’t it? I’m already looking forward to next year, to having you back, all to myself, for 3 months. In the meantime, know that I’m so proud of you, and praying for a great nine months for you.

Happy New Year!

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