The Husband and I got into a stupid fight today. No, not just garden-variety, run-of-the-mill stupid, I mean epically stupid. The kind of fight that lives in infamy years afterwards as a simultaneous testament to how hard marriage can be and the fact that no matter how old you get, you are still capable of acting like a child.
Let me explain.....
It all started with Snowflake's first grade social studies project. The directions were as follows: "As part of our history unit, we will be discussing our individual family cultures and traditions. We are asking each child to share a tradition that their family celebrates annually....Please choose one annual tradition (ie: Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, birthdays etc...)...Please help your child answer the following questions:
What family Tradition or Holiday do you celebrate?
Who celebrates this tradition with your family?
Why do you celebrate this tradition?
When do you celebrate this tradition?
Where do you celebrate this tradition?
How does your family celebrate? (special foods, gifts, decorations, etc)
Now, as a CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGIST (ah-ah-hem) you would think I might know a thing or two about this assignment, so when Snowflake asked what a tradition was I gave her some examples: putting out holiday pillows and blankets on the couch, Daddy taking the day off of work on his birthday, decorating the tree, carving pumpkins etc..
Admittedly, looking at the assignment I realized while they were asking about "traditions" they really meant holidays. Snowflake, when asked which tradition she wanted to share, correctly answered, "When we put reindeer food out on the lawn for the reindeer." The Husband said OK and started having her fill out her form. I immediately interjected and pointed out that the last question would make no sense if you started with something that specific. If you started with "put out reindeer food" you could not then answer HOW you celebrated. The Husband told her, just write "throw glittery oats on lawn," for the HOW. I became hot headed and retorted that he clearly didn't understand the directions and that she could not get up and present that to the class.
Here is where, I believe, it is in the chain of events that things began to go disastrously wrong. My husband, insisting that the word "tradition" meant you could use reindeer food as an example, was plowing through having Snowflake write out her answers and ignoring my strenuous objections. Finally I snatched the paper away and furiously began erasing it, snapping that she should write Christmas as her tradition and write the reindeer food at the end. The Husband, snatching it back, told Snowflake to keep writing.
Now, I won't go into all the details of the resulting fight...needless to say, they were a total departure from anything even remotely resembling maturity. There was yelling, there was pencil throwing, there were even accusations slung. Through it all, poor bewildered Snowflake sat in front of her paper muttering about how, "it's due tomorrow" and "can I work on my assignment now?"
Having completely lost all sense of sanity (not that there was that much there to begin with), I stomped into the laundry room to look for some shoes because at that singular moment I just wanted to get as far away from The Husband as possible. He followed me, and told me I was not allowed to leave the house and that I was acting no better than the kids. Abandoning the shoe search, I just walked out through the garage and out on the sidewalk....at which point he CLOSED THE GARAGE DOOR! Now believing myself to be locked out of the house, without a cellphone, and without shoes, I began to walk.
I walked to the end of the street, where I made a decision. Being too stubborn and prideful to beg to be let in, I decided I would head to someone's house and call my mom. While there were many doors I could go knocking on at 7pm on a Sunday night, I chose my friend who lives down the road. Of course, as I was walking I realized the street lights had not come on and as I got further from our street it got darker and darker. It was near pitch black by the time I got three blocks over and it was beginning to dawn on me that I had not in fact made a very good decision. I began to get a tad jumpy as I walked and I started thinking things like, "Ok, if something happens to me it is really going to be my own stupid fault" and "How on earth did we get to this point?" and "I really need to try and be less stubborn" and my favorite, "Gosh I wish I had some shoes!"
I arrived on my friend's doorstep and knocked. When she answered the door, surprised, she immediately made the mother-like observation, "Are you ok? Where are your shoes?" I explained that The Husband and I had gotten in a stupid married-couple fight and I had walked over. Then I asked if I could come in and use her phone. She invited me in and did what any truly great friend would do....she sat me down, fixed me a drink and we talked.
As it turned out, it was a good thing I showed up, because she had somehow missed the homework assignment note and went looking for it. She found it and thanked me for bringing it to her attention. We shared stories of stupid couple fights (the kind where teddy bears fly across the room, or brownie pans full of brownies are thrown on the floor and stomped into bits) and after laughing until tears nearly ran down our faces about how hard marriage is sometimes, she got her keys and prepared to drive me home.
My arrival home was met with an immediate apology, as well as a reciprocal apology from me. Turns out, The Husband had Snowflake redo her assignment and they decided on a different "tradition," Thanksgiving. The paper was wonderful. Why do we celebrate?, "To show thanks for the people we love and the things we have."
I am thankful for many things. But, tonight I am most thankful for my wonderful partner in parenting. No matter how ridiculous we both act he always manages to redeem things. Also my friend, who neither questioned or judged why I was showing up late on a Sunday night, in the dark, in the cold, sans shoes on my feet. We ALL get a little stupid now and then, but if the people around you truly love you, the laughing-about-it-later part comes quickly.