The other night I holed up in the basement to catch up on writing. Will had worked a full shift lifting fifty pound bags and pouring their contents into the tops of his bulk bins, arising at 5:30 so he could be at work by 6:30. Even so, while downstairs I wrote, upstairs he was not just loading the dishwasher but hand washing the rest of the two days' caked-on contents of the kitchen sink. And while his hands were submerged in suds, one of Will's experiments, a chicken, tomato, zucchini, Parmesan cheese concoction baked in the oven. I love this man for many reasons, but the main reason Will is so good for me is that he's good at putting love into action. Every day Will says to me, "I love you." And how wonderful that is. But his meaning is even clearer when he shows me how much he supports me doing something for myself. He takes care of our family so that I can take care of myself so that I can take better care of our family. I hope he feels well cared for in return.
Sunflower grown from seed by Will and Katie Carleton, summer 2012
And then there's that Katie Bug of ours. Such a sweet, sweet girl. When I was done writing for the evening, I ascended the stairs to the living room. The smell of Will's casserole made my stomach growl. Our big dog Earl was over in the corner of the room, drooling. Katie was arranging several different boxes I'd used to carry our Costco goods home. While we were at the store that afternoon, after I'd picked her up from school, Katie asked if we could look at the toys and I obliged. It warmed my heart as I came upstairs from writing to see my sweet girl, the one who a couple hours earlier very quietly and mannerly looked at the toys but never once asked for one, using the free Costco boxes she'd asked if she could have as soon as Will and I unloaded their contents, to see her using them for her doll's beds.
Doll bed made from an empty Costco box and a pillow by Katie Carleton, August 2012
"Dinner's almost ready," Will called from the kitchen.
"Good. I'm hungry." I said, smiling at Katie.
"Mommy?" Katie asked, looking up from tucking in her doll Bacca.
"What?" I replied.
Katie sat for a quiet minute and smiled. Then she said, "I love you."
I immediately responded by saying the same thing. "I love you."
"Mommy, whenever I don't know what to say I say 'I love you.'"
"That's an excellent idea." I said.
The three of us sat at the dining table and ate our dinner together. Delicious. My writing projects, normally tugging away at my anxiety, were tucked away in the basement for now. It was my time to spend with my most prized creation: my family.