I was annoyed. Here we were on a budget and my husband was off buying random things for his computer. Didn’t he understand I’d see the bill? Didn’t he get it that we are trying to be frugal? The conversation went something like this:
“I see you bought something at the apple store,” I said. I was scrubbing food off plates after dinner.
“Huh?” He looks up at me from his magazine, looking empty and confused.
“You don’t recall what you spent hundreds of dollars on just last week?” I rolled my eyes. I scraped harder.
“It must have been some kind of mistake. Maybe they mischarged me for something I bought on itunes.”
“Not possible,” I said. “It said apple, not itunes. You should call them.”
The following week, I emailed my husband the 1-800 number listed next to the charge on the credit card bill.
“Did you call?” I asked one morning. “The apple store, I mean? That’s a lot of money to be overcharged.”
“Back off,” he said in a hurry. “I’m in meetings all morning. But I will.”
On Saturday, I brought it up again, how crazy it was that he didn’t remember what he bought, or that apple really overcharged him that much, and reminded him that we had to cut back. Did he not take this seriously? Why was he acting like it was no big deal? Am I the only one around here that worries about such things?
But Sunday was Mother’s Day, so I let it go. Early in the morning, while the sun was just peering around the horizon, my husband got out of bed and woke the children. They all came bounding in, singing and yelling. “Happy Mother’s Day!” my daughter shrieks, handing me a poem she had written and a box she claimed to wrap herself. Her hair was wild and messy as she sat cross-legged in a tie-dye shirt and underwear on our king size bed. “Open it!” she yelled.
I start to unwrap it, and I see the little familiar white logo peering around the wads of tape. A brand new iphone. From the apple store. My heart sank. All that scolding and nagging, for goodness sakes. I felt ashamed. “I saved up my allowance to pay for it,” my husband says as he points to a wad of cash in the top drawer. Just put it in the bank and use it on the card. He had a glimmer in his eye, like he pulled one over on me. Like he got me good. And he did.
I hugged my kids. I read the poem with gusto. I ripped open the box and hugged my husband for the secret he held onto for weeks. I smiled at the gesture. For the love and sacrifices and surprises my family has always shown me in my short stint at motherhood. I texted my husband later, on my brand new phone.
You make it so easy to be a mother, it said.
I love apples. You can throw them in a bag on the way to the park. You can surround them with cinnamon and bake them in a crust. Or you can talk into them, and hear your husband’s deep voice on the other end telling you he’ll be home soon. Kiss my boy for me. Keep the soup warm.
My family is so fun to love. They make my heart swell and I just want to wallow in them for the rest of my days. It’s not the poems or expensive gifts or trips to the vegetarian place I love (that they hate) that matter. It’s that I get to see the members of my family open their eyes every morning, one by one. I get to wrap their sleepy bodies in my arms at night. It’s the expressions on their faces when they are excited, and the longing need for me when they are weeping. It’s the surge of sweetness I feel when I touch them, like a slice of warm apple pie on my tongue.