Monday, November 18, 2013

The toothbrush

Over the past couple of years, I've come into the bathroom at night to find Larry's toothbrush like this over and over.

After brushing his teeth, without shaking off the excess water (at all), he balances it like this in his toothbrush holder.  I know that he is thinking it will drip-dry through the night so that it'll be ready for him again in the morning.  But it really bugs me.  Probably a lot more than it should.  It drips all over the counter & if I happen to bump into it, I get wet.  And then in the mornings, I have to clean up the counter where it's dripped all night.  And so, at least a million times I have taken it from the balanced position in the cup, shook off the excess water and put it back into the cup (ahem) the right way.  Like this.

Not too long ago, Larry pointed out to me one morning that he noticed I was doing this.  It bothered him.  To him, it felt like I was subtly correcting him, treating him like a child.  I pointed out that I really wasn't trying to do that, I just felt like it should be shook off & stood up in the cup so that it wouldn't drip everywhere.

But maybe on about the 417th time I did it, it was because I was irritated with him and WAS ever so subtly correcting his actions.

After a brief discussion about how much it bothered me to have to clean up the drippy toothbrush mess every day....and how much he was determined to leave it precariously propped every night (probably to spite me at that point), we dropped it and moved on with life.  After all, who has time for silly fights about dumb stuff like this when there are MUCH bigger fish to fry?

Oh wait.  I do!  After all, I was right.


Even though he specifically asked me to leave his toothbrush alone at night, I continued to adjust it.  I would go into the bathroom to brush my teeth, pick up his toothbrush, shake off the drippy water, and put it back in the cup.  Or if I was feeling particularly snarky, I'd balance it the way he'd left it.  He would think it dripped off as he planned and I would know that I kept it from dripping all over the place & making a mess.  {Plus I got the satisfaction of feeling like I got my way no matter what.}

Tonight, as I saw his toothbrush in the holder, balanced & dripping everywhere, I grabbed my phone to take the pictures above.  I really intended to send them to my BFF to gripe about my husband's irritating toothbrush habit.  But as I took the 2nd picture, I remembered a talk at a MOPS meeting 10 years ago.  

The speaker, a woman who I've adored for years, a precious Godly lady who is such a hero to me, talked about her husband's annoying habit of leaving his shoes in the living room every night.  Much like my feelings about the drippy toothbrush, she grew irritated that he left his shoes there day after day, no matter how many times she asked him to pick them up and take them to his closet.  She tried subtle reminders.  She tried nagging.  Nothing changed his behavior.  She learned, though, that he really wasn't doing it to bug her.  He just forgot.  That bugged her even more because, she felt, that she had a million things to take care of every day with their 3 young children, and somehow SHE could remember to pick up his shoes every day.  So why couldn't he?

And then her perspective changed.  She was convicted one day that her husband worked hard for their family.  She thought about how he got up early every morning and tip toed around the house, trying not to wake the children too early.  He spent hours every day doing a difficult job to make ends meet and to provide a few little luxuries along the way.  She thought about how her husband had chosen to work where he did at least partly to provide her a way to stay home with their children in their early years.  She considered how he always remembered her birthday and their anniversary and sent flowers now and then.  She thought about how tired he was at the end of every day, but he still came home and helped with their kids and allowed her a night off now & then to do something with her girlfriends.  And suddenly, she realized that if all she needed to do was pick up his shoes every day & carry them to his closet for him, it was the least she could do.  After all, it was such a small thing.  It took her less than a minute to walk them from the living room to their bedroom.  They weren't heavy.  She was going into the bedroom a dozen times each evening anyway, so why not carry his shoes with her on the way?  You see, she realized that it really was less of an issue that she "had to" carry his shoes to the closet...and more like she "got to" help her husband by doing this one small act of kindness.

I remember listening to my friend talk that day, thinking of all the ways I could serve Larry graciously with small acts of kindness.  After all, he was working hard to provide for our family and deserved a little pampering in the evenings after work.  I took her message to heart that day and began looking for ways to help Larry out.

But I guess over the years with the kids growing and my returning to full time work and changing responsibilities and money and stress and well.....all the things that change over the years.....I suppose I forgot that lesson my friend spoke so eloquently about all those years ago.

So tonight, as I shook the water out of his toothbrush & stood it up with a bit more force than was probably required, I paused and remembered the lesson of walking shoes to the closet.

Is this drippy toothbrush thing really THAT big of a deal?  Does it take longer than 2 seconds to clean it up when it drips?  And so what if it drips?  Is it really so important to make my husband feel like I am treating him like a little kid?  If I do shake it off & return it to the cup, balanced on the edge, can I do it with a heart of service and as a way to help him out rather than with a snippy attitude and an eye roll?

Tonight, I choose to serve my sweetie.  I choose to love him and help him out without feeling obligated to tell him how I fixed it for him again.  I choose to quietly honor him and leave his toothbrush alone.  I choose to wait til morning & wipe up the drips without complaint.

Are there shoes you need to carry to the closet tonight?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Year of Dates: November 2013

Tonight Larry & I had our November date for the Year of Dates we've been doing.

I got a bag of chips earlier this week & 2 small jars of queso (so we could have a choice of varieties).  In the Fall of last year when I was creating our year of dates, I bought this couple's question book set on Amazon.  It was used, but all we had to do was use a different color ink to answer the questions for us.

Each book is like a notepad which pages of questions.  The books are made to be used like a game.  You're supposed to answer the questions about each other to determine which of you knows the other best.  Rather than playing it like a game, we just answered the questions & discussed our choices.  The questions were fun ones.  Questions about the personality of your spouse, their movie/TV choices, foods/drinks they like, hobbies and all sorts of things.  They were all PG rated fun questions.

This afternoon, I packed a bag with our queso, chips & books of questions and we headed to the lake for a while to spend some quiet time together.

The weather was so pretty and it was very peaceful.

Of course when the mosquitoes started attacking us, we decided it was time to pack things up & get out of there.  Yes, mosquitoes.  In the last half of November.  ha ha!  Remember, we live in Texas.  After one last quick picture, our usual date self portrait picture, it was time to go home.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Playing catch up!

(Sorry...I know.  It's cheesy.  But it makes me grin & this is my blog.)
For the handful of readers who are faithful here, I'm sorry that I've been neglecting the blog lately.  Like every year, the Fall is super crazy busy at our house.  I just forget about updating the blog when I get really busy.  It's when there is down time, when life slows down, that I remember to write.  I'm off work today so I wanted to take a few minutes to update you on us.

Savannah was accepted to a college we visited this summer.  She is really excited about what her school year will look like next year.  And so are we!  You know, except for all the financial aide paperwork & scholarship applications we will be filling out between now and then!  ha ha!  One way or the other, we'll make it work!  Aside from the promise of college next year, she is doing well.  She is working at Chick Fil A, working hard as the editor of the school newspaper, taking 2 AP classes this year, serving in the nursery and with a special needs elementary kiddo at the church and babysitting on the side.  She stays busy.

Samuel is in 8th grade this year. He is doing well in school (mostly).  He is in the debate team and regularly 'practices' his ahem...debating home.  He's really good at it.  (snicker, snicker)  He chose to take theater this year instead of being in athletics (football, basketball & track).  While I know he is really good at actually performing in theater, the class he ended up in is basically a Theater 101 type of class where they don't actually do plays.  They just learn about how the theater works, the technical side of things, etc.  He is bored stiff.  Fortunately this is just a 1 semester class, so he'll move onto something else in January.  He can't wait.  Even though he is not in athletics, he said that the coaches have told him that he can try out for track.  I'm not sure yet how all that will work, but he is planning to do that when the time comes.  Last year, he tried out for the school mascot & those try outs interfered with track season try outs, so he is really excited about doing track this time around.  Sam is helping out at church this year, too, and I am really proud of him.  On Sunday mornings, he often helps with the tech stuff in the children's church room or he assists the lady who works in the kitchen serving coffee & tea to everyone.  On Wednesday nights, he runs the sound board for the youth group.  It is great to see him have his own niche.

Sarah is in 7th grade and growing up way too fast.  I see her developing into a more mature (and sassy) teenager all the time.  (Even though she won't actually be a teenager til February!)  It's funny how kids at this age can be so grown up, but so immature at the same time.  So needy, yet so adept at taking care of themselves.  That's sort of where Sarah is right now.  While it's trying, I love this age.  It's fun to see the kids work through this time of their lives and become stronger, wiser, more grown up.  This year is Sarah's 2nd year in the band.  She plays clarinet & really enjoys it.  She loves to watch the high school band & discuss how it will be when she gets there.  She is otherwise doing well in school and is looking forward to the Spring semester when she can try out and participate in UIL events again!

Larry is doing well.  I can't really say too much about his job online, but rest assured he enjoys his position in law enforcement investigations.  I am tickled to say that, as 2013 draws to a close, he's requested that I give him the same gift for Christmas that I gave him last year!  If you don't recall, last year I gave him a year of pre-planned dates.  We have had a lot of fun this year going on our monthly dates.  Some have cost us as little as $5 & others were a little more elaborate.  But they were all figured out ahead of time so that when the 1st of each month rolled around, all we had to do was pull out the envelope for that month & put it on the calendar.  I really enjoy being creative & coming up with fun gifts like this for him so it is a win-win for both of us!

I am doing great as well.  Since August, I have been working for a local junior high as a special education inclusion aide.  I move from 6th grade math to 6th grade english to 7th grade math to 8th grade history throughout the day, assisting different children with their work.  Some days I feel especially useful.  Other days I delight in seeing them doing well even without help!  It's a great job and the people I work with are precious!  I am content and happy to be there.  One day, at some point down the line I would still love to be able to work back in the town where we live--and one day the perfect job will come open, but for now I am happy and comfortable where I am.

It was one year ago this month that I was given the news I would be losing my job at the law office.  I think November 19 will always represent that day for me.  It was the most terrifying, scary day.  I have the greatest sympathy for people who are laid off now.  I will be spending extra time on my knees this holiday season for those facing the same fate.

This morning I had a doctor's appointment (just an annual check up).  I had planned to go on to work afterward if I could get done by lunchtime.  You never know with this doctor's office if you'll be in & out in under an hour or if you'll sit for 2-3 hours waiting.  I was done with the appointment by 9:45 this morning, but my tummy was a little upset this morning, so I opted to take the rest of the day off.  Savannah had a stomach bug yesterday, so I figured it was a good idea to stay home & not risk it.  It's 12:15.  Time for me to go watch a couple episodes of Big Bang Theory!  Have a great day!