My husband has been working from home since March 2020. It is often I have asked him exactly what it is that he does all day since then.
From what I gather…managing an international trading desk has him on the phone quite often. My children and I have gotten very accustomed to hearing his coworker’s names. In the beginning of the lockdown, it was quite comical and minimally endearing to see him on our deck in a dress shirt coupled with old sweatpants and dirty socks balancing his phone against a Corona bottle…you know, for his “calls”. I also became quite pleased seeing him crack open that same bottle or pour another glass of Brunello and dish business with a myriad of coworkers for – you guessed it – a “call”.
In the beginning of Covid, thinking he would be at my side while we ‘flatten the curve’ – I would often get up earlier than my husband to brew a fresh pot of coffee and be sure to have the specific prosciutto he loved on hand and bring him his lunch every day. These signs of affection added to my daily list of activities as my husband affectionately reminds me that I’m at stay-at-home Mom. Anyway, I digress. Back to my husband, of course.
As time went on and the country realized we would be in and out of quarantining, putting our lives on hold, virtually living, masking up and lying low – I would note the stress of others, feeling my own anxiety heighten, wondering how my children are navigating through virtual schooling and missing out on their social lives, me missing a restaurant dining experience, a martini and an evening out with my beloved. Forging through this unknown and making sure that my children and husband were stable, happy and loved was my #1 priority and I went on to take care of them all. I’ll make my own martini. You can add it to the approximate 400 meals made over the last year.
I continue to wonder what it is exactly my husband does – but he has moved on from blasting his phone on speaker to a lovely headset reminiscent of what an air traffic controller would don. Some things have changed in the last year: the prosciutto might have taken a back seat; the coffee may now have come from Starbucks and I’m amazed at the smell that emanates from my husband’s home office.
Not a bad smell – just an earthy, somewhat zoo-like smell. And the mess and scatter of his desk with multiple papers strewn about, coffee cups everywhere. It’s actually concerning. He hears me complain but needs to wave me away momentarily as he’s on a “call”. Some things have remained: the socks are still dirty and the “calls” are plentiful. And what is remarkable is that I can now set a clock to my husband’s bathroom visits.
But as anyone would hope to gain through this experience – I have learned many things. I have learned we are blessed to have each other, and our families are blessed to have us. We have watched tragedy strike our neighbors, our country and our world all year. Our sacrifices are important. Our support is important. We are important.
When family members or friends have asked my husband about working from home and living through this pandemic, he is quick to reply ‘Are you kidding? I love being home, I’m never going back’. To this I squirm. I’ve both whispered and yelled ‘Get OUT!’ I miss the solitude some days, most days actually. But wouldn’t trade him home safe for the world. But as long as he knows … it’s his wife that’s on “call”. And WORKING. From home.
By: Patricia Lombardo