My husband’s mistress
My husband worked on The Big Bang Theory for several years, giving me plenty opportunity to visit with and get to know his coworkers there. I only ever remembered two or three names, but didn’t need to remember names to feel at home there.
My husband has jumped between shows the last few years. It’s allowed him to build his career into something bigger and better, but it’s also made it hard for me to visit him.
I’ve missed the sense of connection to what he does and where he does it. Day after day, we see each other for twenty bleary minutes in the morning before he disappears to spend fifteen or sixteen hours with his mistress, his work. I’ve grumbled about his job and cursed its long hours as I’ve crawled into bed alone.
Today I had a chance to visit him for the first time in a few years. After running errands, I hauled my kids north and shuffled them into the studio where their dad spends most his waking hours.
My five-year-old, Li’l D, and his daddy sat side by side in director chairs.
Li’l D whispered questions as he watched rehearsal. I couldn’t hear most the questions, but my heart softened at the sight of my two big boys together.
A young actress came over to see my baby, Littler J. “What’s your name?” Li’l D asked her after a moment’s consideration. He quickly followed up with, “Do you want to play?”
“She can’t, sweetie. She has to work,” I told him as she ran back to rehearsal.
A teen heartthrob took in my sons and exclaimed how awesome it was to meet us. Li’l D murmured a hopefully polite response before asking me, yet again, if he could pretty please have a donut.
Someone asked if Li’l D could lend him a hand. Li’l D, a born helper, wandered off to help. I glowed, so excited for the chance to see in action why his teachers describe him as their sweetest little helper.
A leading lady was about to walk by me when my husband said, “This is my family!”
Brought out of heady thoughts and back down to earth, she saw me. And then she saw my baby. She bent her knees to meet his eyes and started cooing in his language. “I just wish I could snuggle you!” she told him.
“Would you like to hold him?” I asked. She said she would, so I pulled him out of his baby carrier and handed him over. She bounced him on her hip and spoke to him so tenderly that I started crying. Littler J reached up and touched her cheek as love rolled off her in palpable waves.
We talked about the guilt of working with little ones at home, but agreed the guilt is useless. A distraction. A thief. At the end of the day, whether we mothers have ten minutes or ten hours with our kids, they feel our love. And watching hers, for a child not even her own, I knew it was true. I was moved to tears again, this time by the clarity with which I understood this truth.
As she handed back my baby, she said she was thankful my husband is so gracious about putting up with her.
“Nonsense!” I told her. “He has only kind things to say, and I see now why.”
As I left having met a couple dozen people–and remembering five names!–I didn’t feel so grouchy about my husband’s job. In fact, it no longer felt like his mistress at all. Having gotten to meet her, there was nothing separating her from me any longer. I saw her instead as part of my husband’s family … and, indeed, how that makes her my own family.
I thought back to one final introduction as I merged into freeway traffic to head back home.
“I’m the man who got your husband into the guild,” said one tall man after a few moments of idle conversation.
“In that case, I’m thankful!” I told him. “Very thankful.”
Long hours and all, this, too, is true.
Having seen, it’s true.