After, what, twenty-something years Gary and I are starting to work on one of our most fundamental problems: our expectations about help.
This after yet another morning in which Gary woke me by screaming "Wake UP! It's 6:45!" (pause) "6:50, sweetie!" (pause) "Sweetie! It's 6:55! WAKE UP!" This screaming is unsolicited, it is unappreciated, and it has made me hate the term "Sweetie." Shut the hell up, Sweetie.
On the days I wake up before Gary, he wakes up and bellows, "AUUGH! It's 6:50! I'm late! Why didn't you wake me up?" I scream in my head, "Because you are a grown man. Adults can wake themselves up without being nagged awake."
I asked him recently how he woke up when he lived those six years as a bachelor without me, and how perhaps he might want to hearken back to those days, because I intended to treat him as a grown man.
His answer? His mommy called every day to wake him up.
The big breakthrough came on the fifth of July. We were to be at the in-laws at 1:00 pm. At 11:15 Gary's sister Karen called. To remind him. To wake him up. To control him. To treat him like a child.
"To help me out!" Gary explained.
"Did you ask her to?"
"No. She was just being nice. She was helping."
"No! SHE was being nice. SHHHHEEEE was being considerate by reminding me and making sure I was awake." Unlike YOU, hung in the thought balloon over his head.
"Aha!" I said, "Here I've been treating you with respect, like a grownup, and you want help."
(Take a moment to remember my mother, and her disabilities, and how she would flail her feeble useless arms at you if you even looked like you were going to try to help her. Thank you.)
So, I've been more in tune with Gary's expectations of help, and I try to live my life thinking WWWD (What would Wilma do?). This came in handy in Louisville this past weekend. As we left the hotel room, Gary said, "It's probably going to rain."
"Let's bring the umbrella," I said, reasonably.
"NO! I don't want the umbrella. We'll be fine."
Of course it rained, of course he complained, of course he blamed me for not bringing the umbrella. I realized, WWWD? She would have forced the umbrella on him while he yelled and physically fought her off. This is what is expected of me.
The next day we were in the gift shop, buying him a package of cough drops. "Let's buy two," I said, "It's a long drive back."
"No, I just want one."
I swung into Wilma Mode. "Ring these up, too," I said to the cashier.
"No! I said I don't want those!"
"Just ignore him," I said to the cashier, and she listened to me. Because I'm the Mom!
It's good to know the secret to Gary's expectations, but I don't want a baby, I want a man.
Perhaps it's time for a spanking.