So Steve and I have been married for fiiiiifffteeeeeen years.
In relation to the amount of years that I have been breathing, that is a lot of years. A whole lot of years. I like to pretend that we’ve learned a thing or two about how to get along since we practically raised each other from infancy. But no. We remain idiots to the game of Love, amateurs, like children playing house (except that now I never get to be the baby or the puppy and I always have to be the Mom, which it totally not fair). I reluctantly admit that, occasionally, I don’t like Steve because he didn’t like me first. And just like kids, sometimes it’s like we have no idea what the other person really needs to be happy, healthy, or even remotely sane. I just don’t get it. You might think that fifteen years would be enough time to learn what the triggers are for a knock-down-drag-out fight, AND (and this is the important part) then how to NOT do those things. That would be cool.
What can I say – we’re a little slow on the uptake. Well, it’s more me than him. But he contributes to the messiness of our wedded bliss, too. Seriously. Once, he ate the stuff that I needed for a recipe…yup, just gobbled it right up…didn’t even think to himself ‘I wonder if Jamie needs these last four crackers for the buttery crumb topping on Pesto Stuffed Chicken breasts with Garlic Mashed Potatoes’. Rude! Oh, and, he calls me in the middle of the day to ask what I’m doing! He tries to act all sweet and casual, like “Sooo, whateryouuptotoday?”, but I know that is really his way of saying “You better be doing laundry and picking up dog poop…Woman!” Naturally this peeves me to no end, so instead of just saying what I’m doing, or whatever, I snap back, “WHY?!? What are YOU doing? Hmmm??”
…Um, hey, do you think that it’s bad that every time I come home from the grocery store I find my husband and sons bobbing their heads to Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry?….or that I am listed in the urban dictionary under “wife fail”?
Ooh ooh, BUT, the other day we had a major marriage victory! Really, a big one! Are you ready for this? Okay…
I drove us to the beach. TahDah!!
No, I’m being serious, like, I drove the whole way to the beach. With Steve. In the car. In case your not following me here, putting Steve in the passenger seat with me at the wheel for two hours, is like throwing a cat into the San Fransisco Bay and telling it to swim to Alcatraz. It just shouldn’t be done. Ever. It’s torture. So we have an unspoken agreement which goes like this: Steve HATES it when Jamie drives and Jamie HATES driving with Steve. So STEVE drives. ALWAYS. Problem solved.
The events that led to me drive were dumb (something about fixing a broken flip-flop and four and half dollars in rubber cement). It was only supposed to be for a few minutes, and I still can’t explain why I never pulled over. Maybe because it was just going so well! But I have to give credit where credit is due – Steve was amazing!! He found every possible reason to not look up, at all, for almost the whole trip. First he spent 20 minutes ripping dried up, gummy balls of rubber cement out of his leg hair. Then he dug in the kids backpack until he found a two year old Mad Magazine and read every last word in it, examined every fat headed caricature, and memorized Spy vs Spy. He white knuckled that magazine and never looked up except for once to say, “Hey babe, you might want to leave yourself a little room behind that struck. Can you smell our breaks?” In the only near catastrophe of the day, I snapped, “I can smell EVERYBODY’s breaks! We’re going down a huge MOUNTAIN!!”. I know, charming…
Steve, because he is wiser than I ever hope to be, turned back to his political parody and all was calm. And, for my part, I did my best not to call attention to the fact that I was the one driving by NOT gasping in fear, swearing at other drivers under my breath, or saying to Steve, repeatedly, “Are you freaking out? Do you want me to pull over? I can find a spot. Just tell me if you want me to pull over. Do you want me to? Quit freaking out! I’ve never even had an accident!….etc”.
So the Big Win is that we made it to the beach just fine, and we did it without even ruining the whole day by arguing. I feel so…. grown up. This was a real step forward for us. Tomorrow, we might try putting the sheets on the bed together, and by the end of next week we may be ready for rearranging funiture as a couple. But I don’t wanna push our luck.