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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine's Day is in the Garbage.

We were living in Los Angeles and trying to potty train a puppy. This is challenging for even the most competent of individuals, but living in a third floor apartment didn't make it any easier.  When we  had to leave him, we would put him in the bathroom so if he did have an accident, it would be easier to clean up. We accelerated to middle aged parents over night. We didn't go out because we felt bad leaving him. But after a few weeks of bootcamp dog parenting we decided to forgo Chang's delivery and go out for dinner. We said our tearful goodbyes (exaggeration) and placed Graham in the bathroom. To say it was tiny, would be embellishing. I have seen RV bathrooms that were larger.  When we came home , we discovered that Graham had taken a major size dump on the middle of the toilet seat.  To this day we don't know how it was physically possible for him to position his puppy self so perfectly to strategically place a turd so beautifully. Don and I have never laughed so uncontrollably since .  It was the kind of hysterical laughter that builds and hurts your abs for days.  We were laughing at shit.  Even thinking about it today makes me smile.

I started reminicing about when Don and I first met. It was sunny all the time, at least in my memory. And we laughed, a lot.  In the beginning I put all of my good qualities in the forefront.  There isn't anything wrong with that, it was a showcase of everything I wanted him to see.  Both of us did this.  But as time goes on, those little things that I didn't exactly hide, but didn't exactly highlight either, come out.  Life happens, children happen. Don started to realize that I wasn't as confident as I led him to believe. And I realized he wasn't as gregarious as he appeared to be.  Little by little our imperfections, like litter on a beach, drift into the water and rise to the surface. And pretty soon everything is out there just floating. Like a big barge carrying garbage out of Manhattan to the middle of nowhere. And just when you think you can't possibly have more garbage, more emerges.  Trash is ugly, you want to stash it away and hide it but if you don't deal with it, it will become unmanageable and you will become a hoarder. An emotional garbage hoarder.

So there you are, sitting with your spouse of 13 years overlooking what used to be a beautiful coastline
but it is now polluted with crap.  I see my wicked temper float by.  I see his inability to communicate glide past.  The water will keep flowing.  But now, sitting there witness to it, you must find a way to see over the garbage to where the beauty once was, and still is, but you have to look deep to find it.

Especially in yourself.  And it's not just with a spouse.  Garbage, if not contained, will come up in every single relationship you have. I have been known to be jealous in friendships, I have overacted regarding the boys behavior. I tell myself it is all with good intention, but unless I transform my insecurities I am transmitting them on to others.

Before my eyes, I became complacent with my spouse.  I always said that I would never let my life get in the way of love, but it had. Not intentionally, but honestly, Don wasn't exactly at the top of my list of things to do.

If there is one good thing about Valentine's day (other than the Starbucks gift card my mom sends me) it is a reminder to show love to someone.  Whether it is your kids, your friends, your spouse, your family, your dog or just humanity in general.  My garbage bin has been really full  lately.  Maybe it's the weather.  Maybe Mercury in Retrograde, or maybe just me.  The other night, something set me off and we found ourselves in a dreaded familiar conversation.  To give you an idea, it is a lot of me talking myself into a frenzy, freaking out and blaming Don for not only all of my problems, but the problems of the entire world past, present and future.  My aforementioned temper emerges as well as his lack of communication.

Nothing was solved and I went to bed angry.  But no matter how mean I get, there is an undercurrent of love that this man has for me, even in the choppiest of garbage filled waters.

When I got in my car  very early the next morning to head to the gym, there was a note on my dashboard  in big block letters.

Sometimes that is all I need to hear. That anyone needs to hear.  That I don't just occupy space but that I occupy an important space in his life. That I really matter.  Garbage and all.  When I came back home to a sleepy house I went to our bedroom, climbed over a dog on the floor, a four year old in the bed and told Don I was sorry for completely flipping out. He laughed. I laughed.  I have to admit, I can be dramatically entertaining when I'm mad, especially in my impersonations.

As it turns out we can still crack up about shit, even when it's our own.

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