Today I realized something important. It’s not you; it’s me. I had a revelation today over a free and discarded garden hose. That is how my day started and also where a pretty wonderful day could have gone off the rails and certainly has in the past. My neighbor has had an old discarded garden hose in front of their house “free to good home” for at least a week. Hubby has casually asked about 3-4 times about it. Each time I have said “we don’t need that”. Truth be told we are not weekend warriors of home improvement. We don’t wake up on Saturday fresh with excitement about building a garden or painting the house. We truly don’t need a garden hose. I also realized that is not really the point.
This morning my husband was definitely less casual. He had clearly thought through the free garden hose conundrum and come up clearly pro garden hose. At first and really for no reason, I reacted like I typically do. I was prepared to go to war over the lack of a need for a garden hose that was just going to sit rolled up under our porch, unused, like the current broken garden hose we have. When all of a sudden all that meditation, mindfulness, and presence I have been working on whispered back “maybe it is just about the sponge.” All of a sudden I just stopped arguing. We got in the car, had breakfast, went grocery shopping, laughed, and prepared for a fun day with family who had come to town. When we got home from grocery shopping I became half owner of a free unneeded garden hose. You know what? My life has not changed a bit. In fact the world did not end because hubby got a garden hose. The best part is we enjoyed a great day and I was a lot happier. It was never about him. He just loves free stuff and our garden hose is broken. He was not trying to make a power play. He had no hidden agenda. He was not making a social commentary on my recent focus on conscious consumption and minimalism. He just can’t see free stuff go to waste and may some day want to hose down the porch.
This reminded me of the first big fight my husband and I had after we were married. First, I must confess I was not the girl who dreamed of my wedding day. I was the girl who thought marriage was a legalized form of slavery. In fact before we got married I did not eat for an entire week because I was so nauseous thinking about getting married. We had been together 6 years; it wasn’t him or commitment. We owned a house together, had a joint checking account, all the bells and whistles, but he did not have ownership papers, more commonly referred to as a marriage license.
Long story short we got married, baggage and all. It was remarkably similar to our pre-married life. Then one day I was cleaning up the sink after cooking. I put the sponge back down and my husband said “aren’t you going to replace that sponge?” Suffice it to say it was a different reaction than the garden hose today. I am pretty sure in a fairly blind rage fueled by fear of being my mother, I might have compared this suggestion to World War Level mind control. Yes, it was a pretty reasoned and proportionate argument. I called my best friend at the time, who was actually my husband’s best man at our wedding. In discussing the “sponge incident” as it had now become. While seriously asking if I could really stay with a man who felt this way about how I used a sponge? I mean what did this mean for women’s rights and equality everywhere? My friend made the bold suggestion, “maybe it is just about the sponge.” He correctly noted that my husband is a straightforward, zen kind of guy and maybe a more devoted feminist than I was. Succeeded in pointing out that relationship domination probably did not begin six years into it and likely did not start with a sponge.