Lord knows I tried to fix it all. I wanted this marriage and family more than anything in the world. I do take full responsibility for myself and my short-comings, I’m not perfect. One of his complaints was that I’m not a good housekeeper.
Yes, I am a clutter bug and my house is often messy but not dirty. (Well, the day I wrote this it was raining like mad and the dog dug a hole in the rose bed and when I let him in he ran crazy through the living room to the kitchen leaving a trail of muddy paw prints – dirty!) At the time he told me this, our son had just turned 6 years old and our living room was, and still is, the playroom. And then there’s the dog, just dirty by nature. I’ve been “cluttery” my whole life, just ask my mom. She once took a Polaroid of my messy bedroom back home in Kansas, gave it to me with a serious note telling me to clean it up and I honestly had no idea what the picture was of.
I didn’t know until it was too late that the clutter in our house was stressful to him, he who had boxes of car parts in the house, dirty clothes near but not in the hamper, and a gigantic pile of mail on the floor. But, my poor housekeeping was just part of this intertwined mess of me not contributing enough. Being a stay at home mom who gets up first, cooks, shops, does laundry, takes care of the husband, the kid and the dog, keeps the schedule, schleps everything and everyone everywhere and can help construct a 1,294 piece Lego Highway Transport Car Carrier with 2 Cars over the course of a day is contributing enough. Yes, there are house projects that still need completing and gophers run rampant in our yard. I’ll write more on “contributing” later…And, I can always work on communicating better, expressing love and care better and controlling my emotions in a more constructive way. He says I “bark” at him and “bust his chops” – I say I “raise my voice a bit” and “express my feelings”. I wish he had done the same. For the seven weeks following his announcement of unhappiness I worked my derriere off and did it all “right”, the house was clean, and I looked good doing it. It didn’t matter, he was done. I only got seven weeks to fix it.
What was I fixing? Was I fixing our flawed relationship? Show me a perfect one. Was I fixing myself, the person I had been for 46 years? I’m pretty sure I was the same person he had known for the last 15 years. Was I showing that I could do what someone else wanted me to do? A perfectly clean house is not important to me. Were we just too different? I guess it doesn’t matter because it just wasn’t right for him. I can see now the things that I struggled with, but I felt in my heart that we were worth the effort and I had taken the vow and made the commitment. Our son deserved the effort.