Friday, November 13, 2020

13: The fire you like so much in me is the mark of someone adamantly free

Thirteen years ago tonight I had my last first date.

It was a Tuesday that year. It was damp and warmy-coldy like today. That evening, my glasses fogged up when I got into the heat of the Tabard. 

(Now, in the pandemic, my glasses fog up when I go outside because of my mask.)

My expectations were low. I don't think Nick was quite as jaded as I was.


The other day I referred to him as a control freak. He took offense. 

I meant it as a descriptor. For me, it's just a fact about him. Not an opinion, not a judgment.

Apparently it sounds judgey.

Although now I wonder if maybe he judges me for my lack of organizational skills. When I see them as an unfortunate weakness, but, like math, just something I'm not good at.

The more I read about executive function, the more I'm like, gee, I think I've been compensating for a long damn time.


I've been taking a walk through the November 13ths of the past 13years.

A year after meeting, married, we met at the Tabard. We'd make it an annual date. We saw a woman get stood up, and our hearts went out to her.

This, I think, is my favorite meeting anniversary post.

The following year, we brought Jordan along.

Year three, it seems, we stayed home.

The following year, I was pregnant and not drinking, but we still celebrated at the Tabard. I see in the photos we are tired.

I find myself surprised to note that in 2014, we kept our date, and I think that was our last outing to the Tabard.

Which is not to say that I don't love this day, because in some ways it feels more momentous to me than our wedding anniversary.

Every year, I commemorate it. Anyway, I thought I did. Apparently 2015 was a not so much year. Same with 2018. But in 2016, 2017 I remembered to voice my thanks. And last year on this very day, we got Wanda.


For the first I don't know how many years, every time we had a big fight, I expected it to be the end of our relationship.

I didn't expect permanence from much of anything in my life; why would this be different?

And finally, at some point, I realized we could have big angry fights and then get past them. We could disagree vehemently but still agree that we loved each other. And still agree on our shared goal of staying married and maintaining general harmony.

It probably helps that we can both fly into a rage and then apologize and be fine.

It surely helps that we make each other laugh.

Because on Tuesday when Nick got mad at me (because I was mad at him), and refused to help me navigate the car in the alley, I screamed that he was a selfish fucking asshole. I meant it about the larger issue but it also applied to not helping me with the gigantor car in the chaotic alley.

This kind of thing stresses out my conflict-averse mother. We drove away and I turned to her and said, "Don't worry. We're fine."

And we were.

Last night Nick got mad at me because I hadn't scheduled a trash pickup that he'd asked me to schedule. Quite frankly, when he asks me to do something, he expects me to jump.

He married the wrong person for this expectation. 

And yet somehow, if I don't take action on his request within a 4-6 hour period, it's an affront.

Whereas when I ask him to do something, I just mean, when you have time. Not now now now right now.

He was mad at me, and I was mad at him for being mad at me. Because bulk trash pickup is not a fucking emergency. (Neither, may I add, is routine goddamn dry cleaning.)

So last night I sat there accumulating my litany of complaints about him.

And then was like, all of this is fucking hard. We're all struggling.

So I got on 311 and scheduled the pickup and then said, "Please don't be mad at me. I'm doing the best I can."

At that point he wasn't angry. It was over.

Nick is a human who gets a lot more done in a day than I do. He shovels through a ton of work and home projects.

I currently spend a lot of time tending to the emotional needs of our little humans. There's less concrete to show for it, but it's a great deal of effort.

I'd like to be as organized and efficient as he is, but I'm not. I don't know if he'd like to be as empathetic as I am. I should ask.


Yesterday Nick suggested that as we can't go out, perhaps we should order a special dinner for tonight.

The kids apparently overheard this and got very excited about the special dinner. So did my mom.

Last night they wondered aloud what our special dinner might be. Exciting!

I'm not yet sure what our special dinner is going to be.

But we'll be enjoying it together, as a family.


And family, after all, was the outcome I was hoping for when I embarked on that first date 13 years ago tonight.