I tell him to stop leaving his socks everywhere.
I tell him to take care of the empty cups that seem to populate the surfaces of our apartment like wild mushrooms.
When he’s feeling hilarious and shouts at me to “make him dinner,” I definitely don’t comply.
But when he needs something from me, and especially when he has the courage to ask, I never tell him no.
Why I Tell My Husband Yes
Yesterday, Husband joined the Michigan Air National Guard. Now, he is a pilot-farmer-husband-cowboy-land-owner-roofer-repairman-soldier.
It’s a crazy feeling knowing it’s official. I couldn’t believe how brave he looked yesterday, standing there with his right hand raised, chest puffed out, swearing to obey the president and protect the country and the state of Michigan with his life.
Sometimes I look at the man I’ve married and I can’t believe I am his wife. He has two jobs, a Bachelor’s degree, and a pilot’s license. He is nearly ten years older than the other enlistees. He has no idea how to be a soldier but realizes what it could someday mean.
And he stood there, feet angled 45-degrees, his chin tilted up slightly. He swore to protect our country from foreign and domestic threats. He promised to keep his comrades safe.
Three nights earlier, I gave him a way out. I assured him that, if he didn’t want to go through with it, I would have his back.
I did this because it suddenly occurred to me that maybe no one had. That maybe he hadn’t been given a chance to say no. I knew that I would certainly appreciate an opportunity to express my doubts and maybe back out of something I wasn’t 100% confident about committing to.
He chuckled and shook his head, resting his stubbled chin in his palm. “No, no. Thank you, but no.”
I asked him if he was sure. I reassured him with wide eyes that he did have a choice. That’s when he told me why he knew he would join.
“I just feel like I should. I look at myself in the mirror and I see someone who is capable. I am young, strong, smart. I am able. This country has given me so many things, allowed me so many freedoms to do what I want. And I just feel like I should give back. I feel like there is a role I need to fill, that I have to do my part. Because I can. So I should.”
Husband is accomplished, successful, and has worked at least one job since he was fourteen years old. He’s flown planes through dangerous storms, survived life-threatening landings, and transported unsafe-for-flight aircraft distances even he thought he wouldn’t make.
He’s escaped flying hammers from violent grandfathers, survived staples in his thigh (self-inflicted), and lived through body slams in a hockey rink.
He’s felt the disappointment of familial betrayals, crappy friends, and one-thousand breakups (Brooke-inflicted).
He’s carried his siblings’ hearts, his parents’ hopes, and his own unspoken desires on his shoulders all his life. He’s got the bravado of a cowboy and the spirit of a hero.
He loves with abandon and destroys the limits of kinship. He’s naturally courageous, which makes him a rarity in this world and a powerful friend.
He tells ridiculous jokes and tickles me when I tell him not to. He catches my breath with how honestly he loves me.
Yesterday, he gave me something new. Pride.
I realized, standing there and listening to him repeat the Captain’s words, that I was proud to know him.
He has the determination of a protagonist – something you read about in books, something you doodle with a flowing cape when you’re bored. He is human and he is flawed.
But he is a hero.
Not because he tells you he is (because he will).
Not because he is successful in everything he does (because he’s not).
Not because he makes the best decisions (because sometimes he doesn’t).
He is a hero because he chooses to be one. He quite literally creates his own destiny. He joins the National Guard because he’s not done living yet. He wants to fly Black Hawks. He wants to be in control of the aircraft when it really matters.
My husband is triumph and he is hope. He is my thread of truth. I stare at him because he is exactly what I want to see. He takes his fear and he drags it beside him, using it to make sure he is different from everyone else.
He’s a flaming life force that I would never try to contain.
Why I’ll Never Tell My Husband No
I encouraged him to join the Army. And I will shove him out the door to boot camp if I have to, knowing I won’t see him for months. I’ll move to another state and another country if his passions require it. I’ll take on years of crippling debt if it means he will live his dream. I might develop a permanent eye twitch from the debt, but I’ll do it.
I don’t care if he messes up and I have to live with him in a wilting box on the street. I don’t care if he fails.
In my one life, I might be rich and I might be poor. But it will never matter which one if I have a husband who never stops running after what he wants.
What I have in my life is a man who defies social norms, who does what so few people have the courage to do. My husband was a hero well before he became a soldier.
Now, he is my weekend warrior.
Who’s your warrior? What constitutes a hero to you? Why does every single person on the face of this planet agree that Thor is the greatest superhero there ever was?
Tell me who your superhero is in the comments!