A Good Wife

IMG_3750 2Life continues to surprise me in happy ways since I’ve returned from my solo winter in Florida. One of the things that I particularly notice that makes my life easier is my approach to dinner. Before Florida, once a week I spent an hour going through my collection of cookbooks, making out a weekly menu of meals. At the same time, I wrote down any items I needed for each dinner on a page-long shopping list.

This made me feel like a good wife, even though half the time, Al would not be home in time for dinner. He might unexpectedly work late. Or the gym had been very crowded. Perhaps Hall Road was a parking lot due to construction work. Even if Al was home, he’d rarely come to the table when the meal was ready. He was “just finishing” something on the computer or in the garage. Often, I’d be done with my meal before he even sat down. It irritated me. After all, I put work into making a nice dinner. Why was it so difficult for him to sit down to eat with me?

All that changed in Florida. I didn’t consult cookbooks, I didn’t formulate a weekly menu, and sometimes I didn’t even have a list. I just went into the grocery store and bought what was fresh and appealed to me in the moment. I ate when I was hungry and sometimes had Cherrios for dinner. Or I’d add lots of fresh fruit to yogurt and sprinkle nuts on top. I’d have salad with chopped chicken and tomatoes. My tastes, when they’re just about me, are pretty simple.

When I came home to Michigan, I kept meaning to pick up where I’d left off with the menu planning and the overflowing grocery cart, but it didn’t happen. These days I jot quick lists for 2-3 dinners and continue to eat the Florida way when I feel like it. I make the two or three meals a week, but if Al is late or I’m not hungry, cooked food goes into the fridge. Now that he has learned to serve himself while I was in Florida, he’s more than happy to put a plate together and pop it in the microwave. This is embarrassing but, before Florida, I used to make a plate and heat it up for him when he came home late. I’d even bring it to the table and set it before him. It was part of that wacky good wife thing.

Since I’m not eating those dinners every night, there are more leftovers and no need for the chore of daily cooking. Because he had to shop and cook on his own while I was away, not to mention clean house and do laundry, Al has no problem eating my leftovers. What has stayed with me from Florida aside from a more relaxed attitude toward menus and shopping is that my idea of what it means to be a good wife has undergone some serious revision. And that makes me pretty happy.

11 Comments on “A Good Wife

  1. Your post made me smile, Cindy — but I’m also happy that you’re now making the dinner hour easier on yourself. That’s one of the gifts of aging and retirement, in my view. It’s nice to “loosen up” those old “wife roles” and cook only when you really want to. Doug and I have started prepping dinner together, which is another good option, in our effort to eat greener, healthier meals. It helps!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bernadette — that’s a really, really good point, and I noticed it too with my own husband after his semi-retirement. We both work from home, and it’s easy to feel too obligated to share all meals together, etc. I am glad you brought this up.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve never seen a single guy starve to death…oh, they’ll get skinny, but they won’t starve. You can go ahead and figure that fact into your meal planning…

    Meal planning at Club 33…
    Me: I’m gonna go make a sandwich.
    Her: Make one for me while you’re up. Open a bottle of wine and we’ll call it ‘dinner.’

    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love a cheese and cracker dinner, Jackie:) I think what happened 32 years ago when I was a single mom with two little boys marrying a never-married man was–I was so grateful he was taking us on. He was 30, had his own house, it was obvious he didn’t need a woman, let alone an instant family. So I vowed to be the Best Wife Ever. I didn’t want him to regret his decision for a minute. I wanted him to feel lucky. I was all about pleasing him. Our relationship definitely lacked balance. And it was (mostly) my fault.

      Like

  3. Am creeping in here to confess that I’m still doing it, Cynthia – writing out a week’s recipes, then transcribing to a shopping list!
    It started when I had five small children at home. Now? No idea! Yet another failing probably, in my character!!

    Liked by 1 person

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