“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
– A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Last night when I was standing in the kitchen vacantly staring into a cupboard for five minutes, W asked me what I was looking for, and that made me remember it was ice cubes. Whereupon I went directly to the fridge and found them. I should mention here that W is a serious maker of ice cubes. Our trays are never empty. If we ever get an ice making fridge he will probably cry.
Then he asked me why there was a small hand-held mirror sitting on the kitchen counter. That would be because I picked it up instead of my empty coffee cup to bring it from the computer to the dishwasher. (And where is the coffee cup?) Oh… I’m not really worried about that, I’m sure it will turn up.
Now if you think this is heading towards my being grateful for slowly losing my mind, you would be wrong. What I’m thankful for is W’s ability to refrain from making disparaging comments about my various scatter brained and brain-dead moments. Sometimes he’ll make his confused face, or raise his eyebrows or roll his eyes, and sometimes he’ll do all three of those things at once, but he doesn’t really say much. There might have been a time in our marriage when he did say a lot of things, but apparently nothing helped or made any difference and I suppose he’s finally just given up.
A few months ago we got a bill for our household insurance (they send the stupid thing three months before it comes due so they’re just asking for trouble, really) and I put it away in a safe place, and then about a week later they sent a credit statement of fifty some dollars for the same account. So I decided I would wait for them to get out their calculators and send me a revised bill with the proper final amount owing on it and then I would pay them. But that didn’t happen, and instead, much much later, we received a rather rude letter telling us our account was past due and our insurance would be cancelled if we didn’t pay the mystery amount immediately. I called them assholes. W. agreed that they were indeed assholes, but urged me to pay them anyway. So I did.
What he didn’t say was OMG, you have GOT to get ORGANIZED and KEEP UP with this shit! So I am very grateful for that. Because he could have said it, and it would have been true, but then I would have stomped off and thrown some things, so he saved us from all that.
I don’t really want to get into the grocery fiascos we’ve had where we end up with three identical peanut butter jars and matching boxes of cereal, or enough salad dressing to last a lifetime – except that it doesn’t because of all those annoying expiry dates that you can’t believe are a year old already by the time you look at them. W has just quietly taken over most of the food shopping. He makes one list – ONE! and doesn’t misplace it. I married a grocery shopping genius. Wish I’d known that long before now. Who knew men were capable of picking up more than just beer and fishing tackle.
W still lets me muck about doing most of the cooking but then he helps to clean up. Amazing. He either loves me a lot or he simply can’t stand looking at the mess for the next 12 to 24 hours. I don’t really care why he does it, I’m just incredibly grateful that he does. And he also turns on the dishwasher and knows how to empty it. When he brings home take out I’m not sure which one of us is the most ecstatically thankful and appreciative and more than willing to rinse out the styrofoam containers and pop them in the recycle bin.
He always tells me who’s playing hockey or football or basketball on tv and then later he tells me who won, so I never have to watch any televised sporting events. He lets me know when something interesting or earth shattering has happened in the world so I never have to pick up a newspaper and read it for myself. He changes my tires and checks the oil in my car and even takes it to the car wash for me when we can no longer remember what color it used to be.
He clears the snow from our driveway and drives me to work when it’s forty below. He says he’s concerned about my car sitting out in the cold all day, but I think he might also be concerned about me getting stranded with a vehicle that won’t start. He lets me paint and hang pictures and rearrange the furniture however and whenever the mood strikes me. (I’ve had a lot of bizarre moods over the years.) If he’s not exactly supportive of some of my interests and hobbies and pastimes, he has never discouraged me either or interfered with my pursuit of them.
He does his own laundry! We’ve been headed in this direction ever since I shrunk every woolen item he owned and turned all his underwear pink. Whenever I put my clothes in the washing machine and forget about them, they will miraculously appear clean and dry and folded in a neat pile on my dresser half a day later. Once I was going to complain about how the towels were folded but thankfully I was able to shut myself up before I ruined everything.
This man buys me spiced rum even though he hates it himself. He listens to me complain about work even though he really doesn’t want to hear about it. He never interrupts me when I’m reading, or doing things on my phone, or sitting at the computer for way longer than could possibly be healthy.
He asks me for my opinion. He wants to know what I think. He tells me I should do whatever makes me happy.
How in the world could I not be grateful for all that.