Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Caring for Him

A funny thing happened when my oldest son asked me to buy him deodorant. I stood in the pharmacy aisles looking over my options and I knew I would pay the higher price for a natural product. After all, this was my baby and I have been careful over the years not to expose him to chemicals or artificial additives of any kind. I'm not sure if the aluminum in antiperspirants causes Alzheimer's disease or not, but I've been inclined to shy away from any suspect ingredient when purchasing products for my son these last eleven years. It seemed the safer bet and I felt like a better mother paying a bit more for natural baby products.

The funny thing is, I buy my husband's deodorant, too, and I have for years. For him, I look for the strongest product and the cheapest price. That's what I've always done. I never even thought about Alzheimer's. But that day, when the products I buy for my husband and those I buy for my former baby somehow and suddenly converged, I realized the difference in my approach.

To my credit, I've had the same approach for myself. I'm not overly picky about the products I buy for myself either. It's like I've seen our marriage as a team of grown ups, laying our lives down, taking the cheap price for ourselves and absorbing all the chemicals so that others might live. It's a funny way of looking at things because Alzheimer's in either of us would be a problem for our kids.

That aside, this experience made me reconsider my approach in other areas of life. For example, if I think my kids would benefit from any book or affordable resource, I buy it. Similarly with extracurricular activities. If I think my kids will really benefit, I don't dwell on costs. I can see that they know this as they come to me freely expressing their interests in classes or materials of all kinds and at all times. It makes me happy when they do this. It's like they're saying to me, "I know you want what's good for me and are always looking to give me good things." I consider it a compliment of the highest degree.

But do I have the same approach for my husband? I've seen books here and there that I knew he'd enjoy and I've passed them up. They cost money, after all, and we need that money to pay for lessons for the kids. I know I'm educating my children at home and not my husband. He's already received an education, but what about him? Shouldn't I take that extra care with him, too? Shouldn't he feel, like my boys obviously do, that I'm always looking to supply him with good things?

Well, I haven't changed deodorant brands for my husband or myself and I probably won't, but I did buy my husband a book this week for no special reason other than I thought it would be good for him and that he'd enjoy it, and I didn't consider the cost.