I’m literally on my third round of antibiotics this month trying to kick strep throat. In fact, everyone in our family is on antibiotics. And when you have strep – you need to buy new toothbrushes so you don’t reinfect yourself all over again.
So I asked my husband Rick to pick up new toothbrushes for the girls.
He came back from the store with adult toothbrushes. He swore they were in the kids’ section.
I sent him to the store again. He came back with toothbrushes for age 0 – 2. My daughters, Dylan and Summer, are 6 and 4. He said he couldn’t find an age on the brushes.
My husband is skilled in many areas… news casting, dancing, remembering song lyrics and baseball stats, chicken eating…. but apparently toothbrush buying is not an area where he excels.
We can’t all be good at everything.
But I didn’t get irritated with him. I didn’t huff and puff. I didn’t say, “HOW HARD IS IT TO BUY TWO KID TOOTHBRUSHES?” I mean, I was wondering but I didn’t say it.
For one thing, Rick might ask me, “HOW HARD IS IT TO TURN OFF THE TOASTER OVEN?” Which if you lived with me, you’d find out that it’s very very difficult for me to turn off the toaster oven. I don’t know why. I take out the hot food and this would seem like the optimum time to shut it off but apparently I don’t want to rush it. So I leave it on for another 15 or 20 minutes or perhaps until Rick notices and decides to keep the house from burning to the ground.
And I also didn’t lose my patience with Rick’s toothbrush debacle because I am tired of us always talking in capital letters. We’re both tired of it. This past year has brought us the greatest blessing of our lives (Yes, Gwynth Paltrow’s singing career, but also our twins). It has also been a grueling amount of stress and fatigue.
We have been so drained by the demanding needs of our four young children that there have been mornings we don’t even kiss goodbye. Or speak nicely. Or say I love you nearly enough.
So we decided to change it.
And this amazing thing happens when you start being kinder to someone. The edginess starts to disappear. They return the kindness. You stop resenting the person for finishing the last cup of coffee or leaving the dishes because he or she was too tired. You cut each other more slack. You laugh more. You’re more compassionate. You’re quicker to say I’m sorry. You run back into the house, even if it means the kids will be a few minutes late for school, to give that kiss goodbye.
My husband is one of my most favorite people on the planet. He’s smart. He’s funny. He’s got great hair. He doesn’t force me to watch his favorite shows, like
“American Idol” or depressing movies. He respects my work. He appreciates what I do all day. He appreciated it even more after I went to New Orleans for three days.
He understands I can’t be happy if my highlights suck or my toenail polish is chipped. He knows I need alone time, even if he doesn’t. He cares about people. He doesn’t notice my wrinkles or at least he says he doesn’t. At the end of the day, he’s the person I want to be with the most.
And he remembers to turn off the toaster oven when I don’t.
Wisely, I decided to relieve Rick of his toothbrush duty.
Dylan, Summer and I picked out some cool toothbrushes at the store. They came with stickers for decorating which the girls thought was incredibly awesome. They spelled out their names in stickers so there would be no confusion. We are desperately trying to keep everything separate in an effort to kill this strep craziness.
Dylan spelled out E-M-M-A. And Summer spelled out Z-O-E.
Perfect girls. No confusion there.