When my husband and I were married I wanted certain things. I don’t mean that I had to have specific event linens or flowers or even things that he could give me of himself, I wanted to be in possession of qualities of what I could be as his wife. There are wifely characteristics that are kept only for him. I wanted to be his daily companion, the mother of his children, and his mate for life. This is a role that as his wife I vowed to share with no one else, pledging my fidelity in front of family and friends, cementing a promise we had made together long before we had the ceremony. Though that faithfulness has and will remain intact, there are many days and nights where he is at work ensuring the stability and security of our family and advancing his career, which is why I need a life wife. If you are looking for scandal or for this to take a carnal turn, you can stop reading here, because that isn’t where this is headed.
In my opinion a partner is the person you can turn to without judgement. It’s a person who will help you out no matter the task and who can see you at your worst, but know you are better than whatever you are presenting. I have been incredibly lucky to have a great group of friends to turn to and I cannot stress the importance of how significant they have been in my life. There is an unspoken code with these kindred spirits where we can always find a way back to each other, no matter how much time has passed since the last time we talked or saw each other. I have these friends, as well as mentors, sisters, cousins, a long distance pen pal and a best friend who has known me and all of my incarnations since 9th grade, all of whom I absolutely adore. These gems are scattered across the country, glittering along a swath across the United States and I am eternally grateful to each of them.
My life wife however, lives about a half of a mile from our house. As of this writing, she has both of our kids over there, allowing my husband and I a kid free night. Even though she had her in-laws coming over today and the tooth fairy had to come last night and make the swap over four kids in sleeping bags camped out in one room.
There is a saying among the spouses of those who do shiftwork – especially when the schedule is 24 hours at a time – that the bad stuff only happens when your husband or wife is on shift. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened. That’s when I need to call for back up. Those are the times when you will need a life wife.
I have called her when my car battery died in the school parking lot (my husband was on shift) where she scooped us all up, dropped all four kids off at her house with her husband, took me to get a car battery and installed it, keeping my kids until I had returned the old battery and taken a deep breath. I have called her when (my husband was at work and) the cable to the chandelier over our foyer frayed and hung precariously from its electrical hardwire only (she arrived with picture frame wire and allowed me to tap out from holding it atop a ladder). I have run over to her house seconds before dinner because I realized we had no butter or paper towels. She brought us dinner and diapers when our baby (who is five now) came home from the hospital and when our senior dog was slowly deteriorating. She has been there for the good and the bad, celebrating student of the month awards and first day of school milestones with our family as well as commiserating when our kids (all four of them collectively) didn’t get spots in the lottery based charter school.
When I went back to work and needed coverage for the kids (at 6:00 am while her own kids slept) she has cheerfully agreed to host mine until my husband could come home. When I woke up with vertigo, she took me to my doctor’s office and entertained my little one while I got sorted out. All of these stories couldn’t begin to describe all the ways she has helped me, nor could it encompass all of the encouraging words she has said when the world felt too heavy and I felt like the worst mom ever.
There are many ways where we are different and even more that we are similar. But as Barbra Streisand has famously told us (and I am paraphrasing here) People need people. You will need a second set of hands, or ears or eyes or an open heart. For some people (like me) it is hard to ask for help, luckily, good wives are notorious for knowing when to step in and offer assistance and I just so happen to have one of those around.