Validation

Men can be assholes. Mine can be a really big one. It's a fact he is proud of. And really, it's part of his charm. (And really, being a Mexican male born under the sign of the Leo makes for serious asshole potential. But let me re-emphasize that this is a point of pride for him. It was for my father, too.)

The Husband is brutally honest. Always. And he's impossible to reason with when angry. I've learned to let the volcano explode, bite my tongue when gingerly negotiating the hot lava spewing forth without getting burned, and bide my time. Usually, 24 hours is just about right for me to smile, wink, and poke him in the chest with an "I accept your apology."

This is when The Husband blinks at me. A few times. He's clueless.

So  fill him in. "Remember when you(insert really stupid thing you said/did/insinuated/thought/imagined here)?"

"Um, yes," The Husband says, smiling now because he knows where this is going.

"Well," I say, with a great flourish, "You may now thank me for accepting your apology. Just a kiss is fine. No words are necessary."

He opens his mouth to say something and I hurriedly out a finger to his lips.

"No, seriously. Let the moment speak for itself. We don't want to tarnish it with silly little promises of ponies and diamonds."

He's usually laughing by now, which is always my goal. It means whatever he vented about and I bottled up is now forgotten, forgiven, and done with. Then we move on.

But men can also surprise us.

You know, by not being assholes.

We found out today that my cousin's wedding, which has long been planned for early July, has suddenly been moved up to the end of May. I almost choked when I saw the date because I'll be on my way back to Arizona from the writer's conference I already paid for in New Mexico, and there's no possible way we'll be able to see her walk down the aisle back in Michigan.

The date shift presents a whole cascade of problems. Because we had been planning for a July visit, my mother agreed to watch Buttercup for me while I am working on making myself famous at the conference. Because The Husband has a job which doesn't allow for predictability, he can't step in and take the time off needed to be the sole caregiver for the time in question, which means that now instead of just me, The Husband, and Buttercup missing the wedding, my mother will have to, as well.

I felt horrible for a minute. Ok, maybe five. But before I could get too far into my ethic guilt, my mother assured me she is fine with watching Buttercup. And that she has the six months she's planning in Michigan to see my cousin and celebrate.

Thanks, Mom.

Then The Husband opened his mouth to say the words that I'll always remember.

"You're not giving up what you've wanted for the last 20 years. Forget the wedding. You're going to the conference. You're going to get your book published. And that's final."

I wanted to kiss him. See, you might read that as my macho-man giving me orders. Or him being an asshole again.

But it was so much more.

It was validation. It was belief in my dream.

It was the sweetest thing he's ever said to me.