Husband #1 loves politics. He loves politics like women love shopping. (Not me, but other women.) He loves politics like men love drinking beer. (Not him, but other men.) His dad loved politics too. So does Husband #1 love politics because he was always able to bond with his dad over them, or did his love of politics just come on its own? Honestly, I think it was the former. My father-in-law, though he always tried to convince our kids that he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, was not a huge sports fan. He never took his boys to 23 baseball stadiums or sat through countless batting practices and double headers. This is probably why we went on all those baseball trips — because Husband #1 and his sons all loved those things. But he and his dad had their political discussions, which could go on forever.
Over the years, Husband #1 got to meet lots of famous politicians because of the political action committee that his dad started and ran for years. There were always pictures all over my in-laws’ house of the presidents and senators and congressman they posed with. I was never interested in any of this stuff, and Husband #1’s love of politics never rubbed off on his sons (clearly), but he always had his dad to talk to about close races and who was running and who was taking over the House. I would roll my eyes and laugh.
And now it is election day, again, and Husband #1 does not have his dad to talk to about all the politics of the “politics.”
I tried to tell him that he could call his brother to discuss the various election goings-on, but I don’t think he will listen to me. This was the “thing” he had with his dad. I kind of feel helpless, because even though I know what he is going through in terms of losing this huge presence in his life, I cannot take the place of his dad on election day. Or the days leading up to election day, or, really, any day. Just like Husband #1 cannot do that for me.
It’s both poetic and sad.
When a girl dreams of getting married, she usually wants to marry someone like her dad, who would always be the first man she loved. I had thought I was marrying my father, but, it turns out, I married my mother. That is for a whole other kind of column. But there are certain times that I know there is nothing I can do to make Husband #1 feel better, and the same holds true with him trying to comfort me.
First, it was Passover. That was the holiday that we primarily spent with Husband #1’s parents. This first Passover was really hard, but also really beautiful, because it was just us and the boys (well, different combinations of the three of them) and we were able to talk about Grandpa’s legendary seders — what he could hear and what he couldn’t hear. His various tunes, etc.
But now we are at Husband #1’s first election day without his dad, and I am totally useless. Beyond useless. I mean we even went to vote early the Sunday before, which he was so excited about, but the line was so long and so full of people who I couldn’t make eye contact with (for reasons I will not go into because I am trying to be a better person) so I just left him there. Of course, after 20 minutes he realized that the line was not moving as quickly as he thought and he left as well, but the damage was done when I deserted him initially. Our boys could care even less than they usually do, so what is poor Husband #1 to do?
Fortunately, we were away this past Shabbos at our friends’ house on the Island of Long who are also very politically in tune, so Husband #1 could talk to them about various races and blah blah blah.
But it just wasn’t the same, nor will it ever be.
Is it better that it is just a midterm election, not a presidential one? Will the presidential one be even harder for Husband #1? Probably, but we will do what we can to get through it, just like with everything else. And I will try my best to pretend like I care…because that is just what kind of special wife I am.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck wants you to know that even though she doesn’t care about politics, she does care when Husband #1 runs out of Fanta, and even though her back hurts, she went to Shoprite to buy more so Husband #1 wouldn’t dehydrate. Yes, she is patting herself on the back.