Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Today I am grateful for 37 years married to Himself. I searched through my pictures trying to find one where neither of us had spinach in our teeth, schmootz on our face or a booger dangling in a three-foot nose hair, and these are the best I could come up with.
Someone I love was struggling in her young life and asked how she could possibly get through it. I had absolutely no advice for her except to say that in our 37 years we have been in some pretty rocky situations. Not every minute of every year could be considered “happy” by any definition, yet somehow we have endured. And now we can’t remember what those things that devastated us at the time were. I wish that for everyone.
We’ve had our almost-splitting-up moments and talked about this yesterday when we were driving home from our son’s house. He could have (and I was such a mess, I encouraged him to) left when I was going through intensive therapy and the discoveries that involved. I remember sitting on our bed with him, telling him that I could not stop the process now because it was too important, but that if I just got to the other side all would be better, but if he left now I’d understand. He stayed.
Our first Christmas in Indonesia was dreadful. He had made a very bad choice the day before we were to go on a train to spend the holiday with friends we barely knew. I was so pissed I couldn’t speak. . .until we got to the room, where I told him that I was ready to get on a plane and go home the very next day unless he got a clue. He got a clue. I stayed. That was over 20 years ago.
So what keeps us together now? It’s very simple. He does the dishes at night and I empty the dishwasher in the morning. He pulls the bedding back when he gets up and I make the bed before I leave for the Y.
He handles his own medication orders, doctor appointments and schedule and I handle mine. We usually eat together, but rarely the same thing. I know exactly what he’ll order at his favorite restaurant and he knows what I’ll order. . .so does the waitress.
If he wants to buy something on line, he checks with me to be sure it’s in the budget, which I handle. He hasn’t balanced the checkbook ever in his life. Not once. I do it every month.
When he sees my living room water bottle is empty, he fills it. When I notice his hoodie needs mending or a button needs sewing on, I do it. When he keeps hanging clothes up that really need laundering I throw them in the wash and he gets them back the same day.
He can do laundry and usually strips the bed, washes and dries the sheets so I can put them back on. I refuse to watch him put pillows in the cases ever again. It’s too painful for me and I’m fussy about my bedding. Sometimes he helps with the blankets and we usually argue even though we’ve done it hundreds of times.
I know he likes to get his tea and breakfast in the kitchen by himself so sometimes I go in there at the exact time he is in there. I open the fridge, turn on the water, open the dishwasher which means you can’t get in the fridge, go in the cabinet where he’s standing and generally bug the crap out of him until he realizes I’m doing it on purpose just to keep him on his toes. Then he laughs and we hug. He tells me to get the hell out of the way. . .and I do. . .sometimes.
I try not to roll my eyes when he tells me the same story for the millionth time, yet when we meet someone new I remind him of the same story that drives me nuts, because he’s a brilliant story teller and I want him to share with our new friends.
He reads lips. I read people.
His back is tight so when he drops something on the floor, I pick it up. My knees and legs hurt when I do too many stairs so he runs to the basement for me. He vacuums, I dust. I wash all of the mirrors except the bathroom because I can’t reach. He does that one. Not always perfectly, but I let it go, because “letting it go” is a key to a good marriage.
He wishes he had a shotgun to shoot the smoke detectors when they beep because he hates changing the batteries on the high ladder and he can barely hear the beep, but he can easily hear me bitching about how much it’s driving me crazy.
I will take one for the team and endure the necessary phone calls to insurance companies, the Inquirer for our third undelivered newspaper of the week, to cancel credit cards and the dreaded tech support for anything. If he is on the phone with someone and can’t understand them, I will either help by speaking with the person or I’ll write a cheat sheet for him.
If he’s ever grumpy or curmudgeony, I can pull him out of it by making him an apple pie. I make good pie! We buy our outside plants together and he waters them, but I deadhead. We both get a kick out of our visiting hummingbird and both want to beat the crap out of squirrel who chews our outdoor sculpture and the hanging basket hook until the plant falls on the ground.
He likes to watch Animal Planet no matter what beast is devouring what and it grosses me out. I pretty much hate violence on TV but can watch a graphic doctor show and he is the opposite and will leave the room.
I realize that this is probably way more information than you need or want on us, but to me it’s important that the young people out there, who are growing up with TV shows where violent sex and screaming are the norm, realize that at the end of the day. . .or your lives. . .the things that mattered once, no longer matter.
He makes me laugh. I make him laugh.
What matters is the balance, the give-and-take, the monitor-and-adjust, the listen-and-hear of a long-term relationship. I guess after 37 years, ours is considered one of those. And yes, I made him read this before posting. I am grateful for every confusing, frustrating and funny minute. BING! Heartprint!