Doing things for myself isn’t just an “Army Wife” thing for me, it’s a character trait I’ve possessed since birth. Just ask the doctors who treated me for a broken collar bone before my second birthday because I refused to hold my mother’s hand while walking down our slippery, snow-covered front porch steps. Or the EMTs who came to my rescue a few months later when I pulled a shelving unit down on top of myself because I couldn’t wait for someone to get me whatever it was I’d wanted so badly from the top shelf. Some call it stubborn. I call it determined. Whatever it is, it’s a must for those of us who spend months at a time with our significant others on the other side of the globe.
So I didn’t skip a beat tonight when, while making dinner, I encountered the arch nemesis of my matriarchal ancestors: a jar with an airtight lid on it. First, I grabbed the little Pampered Chef do-hickey that I purchased at a party I was guilted into going to ages ago. My universal lid opener/magnet/bottle opener. Unfortunately, if the lid of the jar you’re trying to open isn’t exactly the right size, this super gadget is utterly useless. Strike one.
I grabbed a butter knife with a thick, heavy handle from the silverware drawer and fashioned little dents all around the rim of the jar’s lid. Fail proof. Right? Wrong. This lid was NOT budging. “Oh, you wanna play games?” I sneered at the inanimate object on my kitchen counter. “Cause we can play games, you little &*$@$&*!” I disappeared, sure that my threat would scare the jar into submission while I was gone.
I returned a few seconds later holding a hammer, smiling grandly. “Say hello to my little friend!” I yelled. (Yes, I know- I have issues.) Despite my incredibly intimidating entrance, I was very cautious as I tapped the hammer around the edge of the lid, careful not to break the glass. Success. That little “pop” as I broke the airtight seal was the sound of victory. I did it. Not that I’d ever had any doubt.
I was reminded, as I went about the process of continuing to cook a just-edible-enough meal for my children, of a similar incident that occurred the last time The Hubs was home. He watched, smiling, as I fought a salsa jar with my bare hands. The salsa jar won. He laughed as I chucked my inadequate Pampered Chef gadget across the kitchen after it failed me for the zillionth time. He stood patiently by while I banged on the lid with a knife handle, snickering at my dismay when I was foiled again. It wasn’t until I started making my way to the closet containing the tool box, in search of my trusty hammer, that I realized he’d been standing there the entire time with his hand out.
Oh. Right. Despite the knowledge that I was only moments away from a hard fought victory, as Blue Steel had never failed me before, I smiled sweetly and handed the jar to my husband. I bit my tongue when the words “I totally loosened it for you” tried to escape my lips upon his triumphant first-try success. “Thank you, babe,” I said instead. He smiled a satisfied smile and said, “You’re welcome.”
My point is this: Don’t ever buy that jar opening contraption from Pampered Chef. Seriously. Not helpful at all. Okay, really. My point is that while we spend a good portion of our lives as military spouses on our own, doing everything for ourselves, we can’t forget to let our husbands do their “husbandly duties” when they are home. Let them take out the trash, carry the heavy things, and fix the flat tires, no matter how capable you are of doing it yourself. Sure it’s important for our hubbies to know that we can take care of ourselves while they’re away. But it’s just important to show them how much we need them around to fix things, open doors, and navigate unknown highways masterfully without the use of GPS when they’re here. Give a guy a jar to open every now and then. (Just don’t forget to loosen it first.)