She Can See Clearly Now CategoriesThe Pleasure of Life

She Can See Clearly Now

A year ago I wrote about Valentine’s Day – BOOM. It’s Valentine’s Day – being a holiday built entirely on exploiting men’s weakness of having no idea what women want.

Still true, by the way.

But now I have a new perspective on Valentine’s Day – that of an empty nester husband. Now… NOW… the pressure is on.

I never realized how easy it was being a husband with kids in the house. I don’t mean in taking care of the kids – we like to think of ourselves as a team and we both tried to do 60% of the child-rearing, which means that it probably came out to about 70% Stacy and 30% me.

What I mean is how easy it was to hide my many, many flaws behind the distractions inherent in raising kids.

For example, when Stacy and I got married, I was slim. Really slim. Over the years, I became much less slim (some might even use the f-word), to the point where our kids would look at our wedding pictures and say, “I didn’t know mom married someone else before she married dad!”

But Stacy never had the time to notice or at least to comment on my growth as a person (horizontally) because: “Oh, hell, now the other one is throwing up too! Get me another bucket!!”

I may have mentioned that, over the years, my hair began migrating south, leaving its ancestral home on my head and relocating to my eyebrows, ears, shoulders, back… you get the idea.

Again, this probably would have been a bigger concern to Stacy if we didn’t have four years’ worth of driver’s education, learner’s permits and then rookie drivers. It’s a prioritization thing. When your babies are out on the road driving by themselves, your brain simply cannot focus on relatively minor issues like the increasing reflective shine coming off the top of that guy next to you on the couch.

Then there were the personality flaws – some might use more medical-sounding language – that were (at least somewhat) obscured by the trials and the rewards of child-rearing. Yes, I may have been petty and self-absorbed, but I was also driving to PetSmart at 9:45 p.m. to try to find an exact replica of Daniel’s orange cloud fish that just died before Daniel realized what was going on. (Massive fail, by the way, but as it turned out the cloud fish was not dead yet – Stacy revived him.) Read the whole story.

Yes, I may have tended to focus more on what I wanted to get done over a weekend than what Stacy wanted us to get done but, “Hey! Will you look at those grades!! They must get it from you, sweetie!”

Now… NOW… I am in trouble. Madison and Daniel are both in college now and I notice Stacy seems a lot less distracted than she used to be. And that, my friends, is not good for me.

Now, she is beginning to see me as I really am, without the cloaking devices known as kids. Now I gotta step up, and Valentine’s Day probably must be my first step.

Or… OR… I gotta find new distractions. Like maybe I light the house on fire and frame the dog for arson! Or I let one of the cars roll down the driveway and take out the mailbox – there’s nothing like a letter from the Architectural Review Committee to unite a couple! Or perhaps I strategically saw into the trunk of the tree behind our house so that during the next big storm, it falls on the garage! Act of God, sweetie!

Because, the fact is, some things are too big to fix. And if you saw me, you’d know I’m one of them.


Chuck Hansen’s books are available at Nose-Sucker Thingees, Weeds Whacking Back & Cats in the Bathtub (a collection of humor essays) and Build Your Castles in the Air: Thoreau’s Inspiring Advice for Success in Business (and Life) in the 21st Century.


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Chuck Hansen is an award-winning author and humorist. In addition to his books, Chuck’s writing has appeared in publications in Virginia and across the country. Chuck also speaks frequently, bringing his unique, thoughtful humor to business and community group meetings and conferences. Chuck and his wife Stacy have two adult children (Daniel and Madison) and live in beautiful Midlothian, Virginia. For more information, or to contact Chuck, visit his website


  1. Chuck,

    I can identify with the thinning hair and the expanding girth. My wife and I have never had kids, so I have had to count on the increasing number of cats around our house to keep the attention off of me. The older, balder, and fatter I get, the more cats we get. Since you like dogs, maybe you need to get a lot of dogs or maybe throw in a few cats to go with the dogs. That should keep Stacy’s attention occupied on something other than you for awhile.

    Happy Valentine’s to you and your Valentine.

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