Independent Woman…Sort of

That Destiny’s Child song, Independent Woman, used to be my mantra. I could do anything on my own and really didn’t understand the need for constant male companionship. I even told Fred as much on our first date. “I’m not really interested in getting married. Ever. I just don’t see the need for it.”

Now I do. Fred’s good with cars. I’m not. My 2000 (insert many expletives here) VW Jetta has been in the shop four times in the last two weeks. Every time that freakin’ check engine light comes on, I pull the car over into the emergency lane and I call Fred. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him. And I honestly have no idea when I became so helpless.

It’s like as soon as he put the ring on my finger, something clicked in my brain that said, now that you have a life partner, you can turn over all the shitty things that you hate to do in life to him! I haven’t taken out the trash or recyclables in months. Fred’s the one that yells at the mechanics about my car when they want to charge us $800 for a plastic hose. And folding laundry?—also known as “the bane of my existence”—Fred ponies up to the dryer at least 50 percent of the time.

This sharing of the yucky chores reminds me of that quote a lot of ministers say at weddings— may your joys be doubled and your sorrows halved. The car is my sorrow and Fred halves the pain for me by taking care of it. But it also makes me wonder—am I still me? I used to be ferociously independent; now that I depend on a man for some things that I would have normally done by myself, does that fundamentally change who I am?

It’s comforting when I remind myself that Fred has changed, too. When we have to pack to go somewhere on a trip, it’s like his hands lock up and his fingers become paralyzed. “Could you please pack for me?” he whines. When I agree, he quickly runs off his laundry list of what he would pack if only his hands worked.  “And don’t forget my black belt, brown baseball socks, my book for the plane, my deodorant…”

I guess packing for him is like the car for me and I’m happy to help him out— to halve that sorrow for him. I’m slowly accepting that I’m not the feisty, single independent woman anymore, but I’m learning to like my new song mantra—”Just the two of us”—just as much.

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