Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Letting Go

It took two hours to get my husband on the phone. Management does not put a phone on the production floor, so the only phones are at a few desks assigned to office staff. When I call and ask for my husband, the person answering is always annoyed. Sometimes they transfer me to someone else's voice mail account. Sometimes, if I am lucky, they will tell my husband I called.

I rarely call.

I called more than one desk for over two hours, with no luck. Finally someone had him call me back. I told him that I was having van trouble, and could he leave work a little early to pick up the kids from school?

He is the man his father raised him to be: a reliable employee. When he is being a reliable employee, he is not so reliable in other ways. He hemmed and hawed and said maybe he could leave a little early. Maybe. He could not promise.

"Maybe" does not get the kids home from school. I got angry and snapped at him and hung up.

I was remembering the day my youngest child was born. He had not wanted to come home early from work that day either.

After a few more tries, I was able to fix what was wrong with the van, I think. I will drive it to get the kids myself in another hour. I will pray extra hard trying to get the van up the big hill on the way home. All will probably be well.

I remember, when we first married, seeing elderly couples together and wondering what was the magic age at which you stop arguing about every little thing. I loved the peaceful way old couples could be with each other.  I laughed at a Bill Cosby monologue about his father sitting on his own hat, and his mother saying nothing about it. When did you finally just let the little things go?

I did not know then that there is no magic age. You can be together fifty years and still scream and squabble. You can still resent the way he slops coffee grounds on the counter when he is seventy. He can still hate the insufferable way you say "always" when it isn't always.

Peace never just happens.

It turns out that learning not to cling to things hurts. It hurts to let go of resentments because sometimes my resentments define me. They shouldn't, but they do.

Sometimes I secretly think that the best thing anyone can do to bring their marriage peace is to give up being right. And I love being right.

So I will pick up the kids today, and he will come home from work. We will eat a dinner in which all computers are turned off and we pay attention only to each other. And maybe I'll still be mad a little, or maybe not. And maybe the next time there is car trouble, the same thing will happen.

But this time, I'm gonna let it go.