I've always longed to have a "haus frau." In my marriage I filled both the roles of breadwinner and homemaker-- working, cooking, cleaning, caring for the children. How I longed in those 70-80 hour work weeks for a haus frau that I could come home to-- our home spic and span, shopping done, dinner cooking. I would sit at the table with a newspaper and a glass of wine, as the children climbed into my lap for a snuggle, glad to have me home. I would give them a squeeze, then send them along until dinner was ready. My haus frau would kiss me on the head and gently call out when dinner was ready.
I jokingly tell my daughter, Emily, that she will be my haus frau while we are here in Zurich. She will shop, keep our little apartment clean, and greet me when I arrive home from a hard day at work. On Tuesdays and Fridays, she will buy flowers and vegetables at the outdoor market, and I will come home to the smell of lavendar or the delicate curl of irises. My haus frau scenario is not perfect. Emily doesn't cook anything other than boxed pasta. She's not especially good at cleaning, either. I may get a peck on the head, but she, the once small child who used to climb into my lap, is much too big for that now. Still, it feels like some small serene bliss, to come home to flowers, fresh fruits, and love.