Charlie and I will be married for 15-years in August.
It makes me feel very proud whenever I consider how well we manage our marriage, our family and our careers. Whenever people come to visit, it seems that they almost always comment on how our relationship is like a well-oiled machine. We work together very well. But there are those times we don't work together very well. And oddly enough, nine out of ten times, it's my fault.
Take this morning for example.
As I was getting dressed, and surveying the shoes in my closet, I casually commented to Charlie that my pair of Croc shoes have been missing for a few weeks and I needed to find them. Then I added that the last time I saw my Crocs, they were in the back of Charlie's truck next to my field bag.
(As some background: Charlie's truck has been designated our non-family transport vehicle. So whenever one of us needs to work away from home, we will drive the truck and leave the parent at home with our van which is better suited to transport four small children in carseats.)
This morning, I clearly remembered that when I went out to a drilling project several weeks ago, I had driven Charlie's truck and my field bag - which housed my steel toe boots and hard hat and safety vest and safety glasses and ear plugs and associated safety supplies - was in the covered bed. And since I never like wearing my steel toe boots for long stretches of time, I had worn my Croc shoes to the job, and then put on my boots once I arrived.
But then, I neglected to my Croc shoes back on again once the job was over, so I drove home wearing my boots. And, I never got around to putting the Crocs back in my closet. So they just sat in the covered bed of Charlie's truck, next to my field bag.
Over the next few weeks, as we would go through and clear out our closets and garage - as we so often do - we would generate bags of items that we would donate to Goodwill. And these bags would be deposited in to the back of Charlie's truck.
Next to my field bag.
And my Crocs.
Which I still neglected to place back in my closet.
So this morning when I said that I was missing my Crocs, Charlie shot me a concerned look before he slowly said, "Jen. Your Crocs were in the back of my truck with all of the stuff that was going to Goodwill." Then he frowned and added, "I think I may have given them away with all of the donations when I did a drop-off."
And instead of me saying something like, "Wow. I'm a BIG dope I really should have made sure my Crocs weren't in the back of your truck with all the stuff going to Goodwill. My bad."
I said something like, "YOU DID WHAT?! YOU THREW OUT MY BELOVED PAIR OF CROCS? WHAT THE %^&# WERE YOU THINKING?!?"
And then I continued...
"WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME AND ASK JEN! ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO THROW OUT YOUR FAVORITE PAIR OF SHOES?! ARE YOU %^&*#^@#?!?!"
All the while, our beautiful children, who had been sitting at the table happily eating their breakfast, raised their eye brows while I vented, before covering their ears.
This went on for several minutes. Me accusing my husband of being flippant and inattentive. My husband retorting that I should do a better job managing my stuff. Me retorting that I DO THE BEST JOB MANAGING MY STUFF AND EVERYONE ELSE'S STUFF IN THE ENTIRE FAMILY and this absolutely isn't my fault.
It's his fault.
Because I never make mistakes. NEVER. I am the do-all-hold-it-all-together-manager of this family and if it weren't for me, the walls of our universe would collapse.
All the while, I knew this wasn't true. And I knew that the way that I was handling this particular situation was bad. Terrible infact. And what I really needed to do was promptly apologize and shut my trap.
But of course I didn't.
Another several minutes later, when the fury of my emotions had sufficiently disspitated and my spouting-off and finger pointing had ceased, and Charlie had retreated to another room to separate himself as far as possible from me, I was lifting Henry out of his booster chair and my toddler son threw his head back and gave me the most heart warming smile.
My beautiful baby.
That I made with the man who threw away my shoes.
It hit me full force at that very moment, sometimes - I'm a real crank.
An irrational, over-the-top absolute-witch-to-be-around, crank. Sometimes, I act like a real bad word. And instead of talking to my husband rationally when I've had some time to digest a situation and recognize my contribution to the problem, I lack the ability to filter the thoughts that rapidly shoot from my brain to my mouth.
Today, I knew that I needed to do something fast because if I didn't, there would be a dark cloud of discontent over our house all day long and spanning into the unforeseeable future. So I found my husband putting on his shoes and I mustered an apology that went something like, "Charlie, I forgive you for throwing out my shoes."
My husband gave me a blank stare and crossing his arms across his chest said, "Yes. AND?"
I took a deep breath and continued, "And. I'm sorry that you gave away my most comfortable pair of shoes that you really should have known better than to donate to Goodwill. But I forgive you."
I gave him a weak smile but instead of accepting my lame attempt at an apology, my husband rolled his eyes, sighed and walked away.
Because what I should have said was, "I'm really sorry that I acted so terribly - especially in front of the children - and I'm sorry that you are married to a woman who can, without warning, morph in to a jackass nag machine. But I love you and adore you and without you, the walls of our universe would collapse. And I mean that sincerely."
I do mean that sincerely.
And although it might feel good to vent, it feels so bad immediately after. Why it is that I lack the ability to shut up is beyond me. And how my husband can lovingly tolerate being married to someone that attacks at a moments notice is even more of a mystery.
While I set about working, Charlie ushered all the kids outside and loaded them in to the car. A few minutes later, he came back in to the house carrying my pair of old Croc shoes. He gently placed them next to me and without a word, turned and walked out the front door.
I picked up my shoes and followed him outside where I asked the obvious question, "So, you found them?" He nodded his head and responded, "Yeah. I found them. I remembered seeing them and thinking that you probably didn't mean to throw your Crocs away, so I put them aside."
Charlie disappeared in to the garage to grab a few items for their trip away and I held my shoes up for the children to see. "Look," I said, "Daddy found my shoes." The kids smiled at me before William very sternly said, "Mommy, you need to go apologize to Daddy right away."
I was already embarrassed because I had made such a spectacle. But it was even worse when I realized that the kids were highly aware of my tantrum and called me on it.
Hoping that I could perhaps turn this in to a learning experience for everyone that had been subjected to my wrath, I said, "I definitely need to apologize to Daddy. Because even if my shoes had been donated, I acted very badly this morning and there is no excuse for the way I behaved. You should never treat the people that you love with disrespect and that's exactly what I did."
Then I bit my lip and added, "Sometimes it's very hard to admit when you are wrong and ask forgiveness. How do you think I should handle it?"
Not surprisingly, the children were quick to offer advice.
Carolyn piped up, "I think that you should go and tell him that you are very sorry." Elizabeth added, "I think that you should give him a hug and a kiss and tell him you'll never do it again."
My husband reappeared from the garage and stepping in front of him and placing my hands on his arms, I declared for everyone to hear, "Charlie, I am so sorry. I hope that you will forgive me for acting so badly. Even if my shoes had been donated, I was completely out of line. You are the glue that holds this family together and I love you with all my heart."
I leaned forward and planted a kiss on his cheek and gave him a hug. And my husband, being the wonderful man that he is, wrapped his arms tightly around me and said, "I forgive you, Jenny. But sometimes you really ARE a pain in the ass."
Then William, who was strapped in to his carseat yelled out, "Now that you said I'm sorry, go get a baby in your tummy because I want two more brothers."
I honestly have NO idea where the kids pick this stuff up.
But I couldn't make it up if I tried.