After Gavin and I got in that fight about the holiday gifts, we had a tense day..and day after that. We both felt rotten. I omitted the part about how I had a total flip-out melt down on him for about five minutes, after the kids were gone.
And so I asked myself the question that I do every time we get in a fight (which is not often) How can I be married to this person? And for a day or so I felt that I could not. How can someone put up with such a royal offense? How can I live another seventy years with someone whom I want to kill?..and who can not take responsibility for his actions? And then I started imagining the next fight we'd get in to...and how much more rotten he would probably be then...and for the rest of our lives. Now I was fuming over events and arguments ten years down the road.
We'd pass each other in the hall, and not look at each other. And then I had a dream. It may have been while I was awake..I can't remember. But in it, I'd left him. Told him that I could not take it any longer. Told him that the way he always blames others, when he screws up, was just too much for me.
And then I found this hunk. This deep thinking, spooning, long haired hippy, who just wanted to talk all about ME...and it was wonderful. AND he took responsibility for all of his actions. So in my dream I am feeling perfectly vindicated. See, someone who can say he's sorry is out there, and I found him.
And in the dream I had a inkling of the sorrow that I'd caused my kids. The way in which I'd changed their lives. And then Mr. Dreamland didn't like to do some of the things we do in our family; like build forts, or make waffles and bacon and eggs every weekend, or go to all the kids soccer and basketball and football games, or play make-believe dogs with Shelby, or watch Clone Wars with Dalton, or program the IPod, or get up with the baby in the middle of the night when I am too tired, or hand wash the pots and pans, or do the laundry, or renew the Oprah and Cookie and Economist subscriptions, or pay all the bills, or take the kids skiing every weekend, or watch Mad Men and Community and Parks and Rec and the Office with me, or ask to give me foot rubs, or let me leave the house messy when we go to bed and act like it's not messy, or find all the alphabet and dog games on the ITouch and teach Shelby how to do them on her own, or replace the batteries in all the kid's millions of toys, or rake the leaves with Garrett even though it takes one hundred and fifty times as long, or pretend that the phone didn't ring on Sunday morning so we can have a little more peace and quiet, or take me on fun trips, or to fun restaurants, or do all the Costco runs and put all the food away, or grill all the meat, or cook the majority of the meals, or watch the kids a lot so that I can go back to school or go out with girlfriends, or be wonderful with every one of my family members, or be nice to me 99.9% of the time, and really love me.
And then the long haired guy was no longer appealing. And I was alone with my three children who missed their dad. And they were sad..a lot. And life moved on, and I had regret. And then I saw Gavin as Dalton or Garrett..through maternal eyes. I saw his weakness as something vulnerable and human, and just a tiny part of who he was. And I thought I could forgive Dalton or Garrett for that same offense a million times over. So why shouldn't I be able to do the same thing with their father?
Then..in true Soap Opera fashion, twenty years had passed. The kids were grown and out of the house, and Gavin and I were conversing. And I knew that I still loved him...that I always had. And that I had blown it all. We reunited..but there were so many things that we could not have back. All that time with the kids..all those memories. It was tragic.
And just like a scene from a movie, where you want to yell at the character..yell at Scarlet to wake up and see what a nincompoop she is being and what a catch Rhett is, before it's too late- just like that, I had a come-to-Jesus with myself. It went a little something like this: I love Gavin, and I love my life. And his weakness is nothing in comparison to all that is wonderful about him.
And we didn't apologize to each other. That would have taken energy that we didn't have. Instead I walked past him and asked, "Should we just admit that we both acted like idiots and forget about it?" And he said "Yes". Then I think that we did actually apologize. And then we sat down and watched our shows, and chatted about the kids. I didn't tell him any of this. How I'd almost thrown in the towel..or how I'd come to realize that I can't be without him. Life just continued on, with only a little bump in the road to look back on.