I bought a new laptop that didn’t work.
I’ve known, for over fifty years, that I should keep the original box of expensive items, and I’m certain I did, but I have no idea where it is. It’s in one of those “I’ll-leave-it-in-this-safe-spot-so-I’ll-always-know-where-it-is” places. Uh-huh. Right. Anyway…
I asked my sweet hubbie if he could help me send it back since I didn’t have the box and he said, sure, just leave it by my stuff and I’ll take it tomorrow. I have boxes at work, he went on to reassure me, I can package it for you, etc, etc, etc.
Can you really take it tomorrow? That would be great, I really need you to take it tomorrow. I need the refund processed so I can get the new computer. I’d love it if you could take care of this right away (yesterday?). Can you really take it tomorrow? You sure?
That’s when he gives me one of those, am I your husband or your father looks, Yes, he said calmly. I will take it tomorrow.
Meet my husband. Loving, precious, intelligent, funny, warm and full of positive energy. He’s the kind of guy people just like to be around. He is easy to connect with and ever-present. Unless he’s having an A.D.D. attack. What? I said we’d out with the Millers when we had other plans? I did? No I didn’t. I just said, I’d check. I said we would meet them at 8??! No I didn’t. That’s not at all what I said. (ugh)
It’s been almost thirty years of navigating around his always well-meaning, sometimes maddening efforts that are aimed to please all, while inadvertently disappointing a few. Usually I’m the one who is disappointed. Luckily, it’s usually me, because his perpetual good faith and abiding love make it easy for me to be forgiving.
Until last week.
Take the laptop in tomorrow. Take it tomorrow. (It could have waited a day, of course, or two, or more, but my persistent urging now made that feel impossible). I WILL TAKE IT TOMORROW.
When tomorrow came, I went downstairs, grabbed my work paraphernalia and aimed for the door, when I saw the laptop. Sitting right where I left it, neatly piled with owner’s manual, assorted discs and plastic packaging, awaiting my trusty husband to carry its defective self from whence it came. OMG! I can’t believe he left it here. I asked him five times. He said yes, five times. (Yes, it’s been long enough that not only should I not be surprised, I should not have asked him to take care of something that I could have taken care of myself!) ARGGHHH!
I drove to work, imagining all the things I should, would, might (dare not) say to him. I cannot believe you forgot it. After all that. You told me you would take it. C’mon. I ask for so little (not true). Why do you always do this? Blah blah blah…
I do try my very best never to make this man feel bad. Because, and I say this with no hesitation, he goes out of his way to make sure I am happy on a regular basis. So my head was spinning, I should have known better, I should never have relied on him to do this, so what, it can go tomorrow, ack, but still, he’s always so convincing when he “promises” he’ll do it. Will he? Can I really depend on that? Should I call him, email him, text him, who really cares, what’s the big deal? You get the idea.
By this time, I had entered my office, planning my assault. There, on the floor near my desk, I saw something. My brain took (way too long) a few seconds to process what I was looking at, when I realized it was the power cord to my laptop. Yikes.
It’s a good thing he didn’t take the laptop.
So I emailed him (excuse my language but this is the way I talk/write/think).
Bru, It’s a good thing you f****ing forgot to take the freaking laptop this morning like you freaking promised. Because I found the freaking power cord at my office on the floor by my freaking desk.
I knew that. That’s why I didn’t bring it. HAHAHAHA.
Yeah, right. We both knew he wasn’t aware that he had forgotten it. Until he read my email decorated with sarcastic profanity. But alas, he’s quite adorable.
The life lesson may be obvious, but it is one that I have shared with a number of clients since that day:
In all good marriages, it is 50/50. Always. Sometimes he will mess up. Sometimes she will mess up. Sometimes, it will be both at the same time. Any way you look at it, it is a partnership of good efforts. We all do our best (I hope). We need to engage, have reasonable expectations, and then, forgive our partners when their best isn’t good enough. Because, somewhere within the layers of all that hard work, your partner is forgiving you, for your intermittent failings, too. 50/50.
That’s how it works best. For every disappointment you might endure, there may be a power cord lurking.
Do not forget that.