Saturday, September 3, 2016

Things on the refrigerator

Time was, growing up in southern West Virginia, I would have titled this post "Things on the Frigidaire". That's what I called a 'refrigerator' until I went to college and learned there were other brands of refrigerators. Amazing, stuff like that.

I went downstairs a few minutes to put a photo I printed out on my computer of Tim McCarthy and his daughter Ellie, asleep on his chest. You can see leaves outside the window and lots of shadows since I don't have a color printer. And the look on Tim's face, my son-in-law's face, the father of my fourth granddaughter's face, is one of pure joy an wonder.

(I like black and white photo's better than color ones. I should call the refrigerator a Frigidaire! I have become one of those people I used to hate who liked 'the old way' better. Just not Trump. Please. Just not Trump!)

And Bern, watching me do that--put Tim and Ellie on the fridge with a magnet, said, "you know I'm going to move all those soon. I hate things on the refrigerator."

Those things, are other pictures: one of Ellie in her car seat to finally leave NYU hospital and one with her on Mimi's shoulder, soon after birth with a look on Mimi's face that could be called 'beatific' without doing damage to that word.

That moment was as close as Bern and I come to a fight these days.

I was about to defend pictures of our daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter. But I realized it wasn't about that at all.

I simply 'don't mind' stuff on the refrigerator and Bern doesn't like--hates--stuff on the refrigerator. Which is why our refrigerator hasn't had stuff on it with magnets until I put up those three pictures. It's not about Mimi, Tim and Ellie's pictures--Bern loves that as much as I do, if not more. It's about 'hating' stuff on the refrigerator for her versus my 'not minding' stuff on the refrigerator.

Here's a guide to relationships. If it is a question of what one person doesn't mind versus what the other person hates--"hates" outweighs "doesn't mind" every time.

The two photos have been on the refrigerator for almost a month before the one I just put there. "Nothing" has been on the refrigerator that long before. Bern likes the photos as much as I do. She just likes a clean refrigerator front.

There are photos of Emma and Morgan with baby Tegan on the side of the refrigerator that faces the counter. They've been there for years. And a picture of Luke, our late Cat, in my suitcase wanting to go with me. Those photos are ok for Bern, they aren't on the front of the refrigerator.

There was a time in our marriage we might have gotten into an argument about all this. But no more.

Why argue about the front of a refrigerator? What sense would that make? The photos will be somewhere we see them and the refrigerator front will be clear and our marriage of 46 years come Monday will go on and everything is fine.

Sometimes people think they're fighting about something that isn't what they're fighting about at all.

And most of the time, the fight never needed to happen.

Something to ponder about the fights you have....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.