For only the second time in our two decades-plus of marriage, my wife needs her husband’s help with basic tasks that she is most comfortable performing. This past Thursday, she broke a bone in her wrist and is in a cast. The injury is with her dominant hand, and as many can attest, trying to do things while you keep a casted arm elevated, like folding laundry or texting on a phone are irritating at best. While I have been a good husband helping her by opening a bottle of ibuprofen or carrying the laundry out and back from the washer/dryer, folding clothes and towels, there are some things I was asked that were “firsts” for me. While the reverse is not a challenge for many men, helping put a bra “on” a woman, is probably not one of the skills we learned in our teenage or college years.
I may have learned the rudiments. Women have mastery in undergarment art forms that would confound a martial arts master. I observed a woman with a casted arm remove a brassiere with the practiced contortion neither a Bruce Lee nor Shang-Chi, even with his Ten Rings could have done.
Women, particularly those with the “Helen Reddy-I-am-woman” gene, do not slow down when injured. Where I allowed myself to “recuperate” when I broke my arm ten years ago, my spouse had allowed herself to slow down a little. In the 90 minutes I had gone to see a client Saturday morning, she had met with women from our church, cleaned the floor, completed a load of laundry, set out the crock pot, started the corned beef in the crock pot (we had an early St Paddy’s day potluck), and moved chairs outside to prepare the patio should the rain not come (it didn’t).
This afternoon, Sunday, we were watching our grandchildren for a few hours. Setting up the playthings, getting out the blocks, getting out snacks, and neither the 4 year old nor the toddler saw anything amiss with Gramma. She was trying to keep her injured arm as comfortable as was possible with the toddler clambering up and over her, and the 4-year old asking her to “fix” the blocks that Pop-pop apparently could not. I was sent out to pick up a few items at the store, and by the time I returned, our son was coming over to retrieve the kids. And just now, after we got everything put away, she fixed dinner for us both. Women have secret powers I have not begun to fathom.