I’ve written many times before about my husband and the encouragement he’s given me over these last six years as I’ve pursued my interest in art. Truly, I would not be the artist I am today had it not been for his belief in me, his interest in what I was doing, and his willingness to show his support in many different ways. He’s built a rolling table, installed lights in the studio, added drying racks to the walls. He’s framed paintings for me. He’s made trips to display sites to help me hang paintings. He’s accompanied me to art shows and banquets.
So, yes, I love him dearly, and what better time to express that love than at Valentine’s Day, right? Right. At the same time, I’ll be honest here again. I occasionally find myself thinking, “I love you, honey… but… ”
But? But what?
Well, more often than not I head to the studio in the morning with plans for drawing or painting. Yet before I can settle in and get started, my now-retired husband is there beside me. “Did you want to hang a couple paintings in the spa?” Yeah, sure. Why he wants to choose that particular moment is irrelevant, right?
So, we hang two of my acrylic pourings in the spa. I’ve gone with last year’s Pantone colors of gray and yellow, and the paintings look nice. They fit. Job done, back to the studio.
I start to reach for my drawing kit, and there’s my husband again. “Since I’ve got the tools out, do you want me to hang the curtains, too?” Yeah, great idea. Up the stairs I go to get out the curtains I bought for the spa. Time passes, but the curtains are now at the window.
Do I dare go to the studio again? I take a few steps, and there are footsteps behind me. “Would you mind looking…” No, honey, I don’t mind helping you find whatever it is you’re looking for at Amazon, and even though there’s a computer upstairs, that’s fine, I’ll use the one right here in the studio and just tell me now, what is it you’re wanting?
We find what he’s looking for and place the order. And by now, he’s already pulled a chair up beside me, and this dear, sweet, loving, wonderful husband of mind is smiling and saying how happy he is that he’s now retired and can spend more time with me, telling me how much he enjoys sitting in my art studio, looking at all I’ve done.
Yes, dear. That’s nice. Uh-huh. I’m happy, too. And, sure, I am. It’s wonderful to be married to the love of my life, and I am happy that he’s retired now. I’m glad we truly do enjoy spending time together. After all, we’ve all seen old married couples who have loved each other for a long, long time but who don’t necessarily really like each other all that much any more. That’s not us. We’re still best friends, still love being together, still laugh at all the crazy memories we’ve made throughout the years.
Of course I have to love a man who is willing to put up with me and my varied interests. I have to be thankful that he understands how totally wrapped up in things I can get. I’m delighted that instead of trying to settle me down, he’s right there lifting me up, buying art supplies for me, and encouraging me to do more and more new things.
Now, though, how do I adapt to a retired husband who is suddenly underfoot in the art studio? Mostly I try to encourage him to do his own thing — and he recently bought a new set of drums, so there’s that. I try not to fuss at him, and I do invite him to come look at things I’m doing.
Even if he’s not in “the studio” area downstairs, he’s still very much a presence. He sits in the “entertainment area” with the cat, watching his car shows on television, or working on his current project involving re-wiring a lot of the electrical circuits. Or he’s in the spa, showering or shaving. Or he’s over at the sewing table working on bibs for our special-needs grandson.
He’s a great husband. I love him. And I’ll adjust to the changes of having him around more now than before. I won’t complain at him, because I’m grateful for his love and encouragement. Mostly, I just have to laugh to myself a bit.
Yes, honey, I love you… today, tomorrow, forever. And I love it when you spend time in the car shop, or your woodshop, or playing your drums, or running errands! But, yes, I love you, too, even when you’re in my art studio. Be forewarned, though. If you spend too much time here, I’m apt to get you a smock, a beret, and hand you a paintbrush!
Happy Valentine’s Day!