Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

On Cleaning Out Closets

Guy and I have spent the last year re-inventing; putting a concerted effort into our marriage.  We have always gotten along well, but you know, everyone can try harder to be better, especially me. 

Also, we have maybe possibly developed some not great habits. We have silent conflicts... the kind where you can hear crickets chirping. Which isn't the same as not arguing, because we have the argument alone in our own heads, which, due to our unfortunate inability to read minds, gets us a whole lot'a nowhere. 

You know how when you decide to organize a closet, it can get pretty messy as you unpack years of "stuff"? Yah, same thing with marriage.  It doesn't mean everything is falling apart, but true self examination can be like cleaning your mirror and realizing you really need to pluck your mustache. Add to that some major "out-of-our-hands, and not-to-be-blogged-about" crises, and it piles up to a more challenging year than most. 

My closet cleaning has led me to learn a bunch about codependency.  I always thought codependancy was extreme, like when you are the 700 pound person stuck in your house and your spouse is the one bringing you 8 pounds of chow-mien and four pizzas a day.  Well, I don't do any of that, so I'm good, right?  

Uh, yeah, not so much.  It's a whole attitude thing.  While one action done in a certain frame of mind might not at all be codependant-y, the exact same action done with a different intention may absolutly be (you might not understand the technicalistic-ish lingo I am using here. I would never make up words to try to sound smarter. I'm pretty sure codependant-y is in the dictionary). If I bring you a brownie to be nice, thats, well, nice (unless you're on a diet, then that's just mean. Mean brownie-ing). If I do it to secretly obligate you to do something for me, say, pumice the barnacles off my scaly heals, that's a no-no.  Which seems cut and dry, but can be way harder to figure out when it's tiny little behaviors spread over two decades, let me tell ya. 

So to honor our year of marital closet cleaning, Guy and I threw together a last -minute anniversary get-away.  I hurried out that morning looking for an anniversary card that would magically fit the occasion, and I found SQUAT in an envelope for $4.99. Sometimes I would pick up a card and loudly moan at the 14 stanza syrupy soliloquy inside, before returning it to the slot it came from (only it wasn't the right slot, because the slot had mysteriously vanished, and I am mad at the card company now for wasting my time, so I don't care if I put it back in the right darn slot anymore).

Suddenly, I'm feeling snarky at everything.  Each card seems to be a lie. I can't buy a card that says, "Here's to another year of wedded bliss!"  It's wedded hard work!  And two rabbits in clothes making a toast isn't gonna cut it.

The anniversary cards are all in one little corner where the air conditioner is mysteriously making some eardrum bursting sound that apparently only I can hear, and now I am sympathizing with all the dogs I have tormented over the years with those silent dog whistles. The lady in the little store vest is doing the fakey-fake cheerful voice to everyone who walks in, and when she asks me if I'm finding everything I think I might have to punch her, because I don't need a card that says, "Pookie pie, our marriage is like a day at Disneyland and we both poop rainbows and I am now a wonderful person all because of YOU!"

(Wow, now I'm really crabby. Closet cleaning makes card buying hard.)

I need a card that says,

"Holy crap, dude.  That was a rough one.  Thanks for hanging in there with me."

I settle on a card that says, "Damn, I'm lucky."

Tessa scolds me for buying a card with a curse word on it.  Great, now I'm a crabby wife AND potty-mouth mom.

In the end, we had a nice little overnight escape.  We talked about our growth over the year, and consoled each other over the rough bits. We ate grown up food and a lot of chocolate, and wandered around in stores we would have been thrown out of if we'd had the miscreants with us.  And not once did I have to tell Guy to stop climbing on anything, so, yah, pretty good.

I think when you pile on a few years, you start getting better at certain things, and so God says, "Ok, they're ready for the next challenge", and something hits that would have turned you into a puddle a few years before.  I'm glad they don't all come at once. And I'm glad I have this good man at my side to ride the waves with, storms and all. Even if he still can't read my mind. 

Yup, I'm pretty *cus'word* lucky. 

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