My mom has given me lots of useful advice over the years in regards to keeping a healthy marriage. I value her opinion greatly, especially since my parents still court each other after 39 years. Some of my most favorite include:
- Drinking wine helps you be more amorous even when you are tired
- Always let your husband think he has made the final decision
- Never bombard your husband with complaints the minute he walks in the door, wait until after dinner
- Pick your battles
- Don’t assume anything
- Asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission
Unfortunately, I have not mastered the art of keeping my mouth shut and refraining from undermining his parental authority.
Last night, The Hare wanted to pour her own milk. I’ve been buying the 1/2 gallon jugs to make it easier for her to be more independent, but even those are tricky when they are full. She started to pour the chocolate milk, resting the neck of the jug on her plastic cup. The cup tipped slightly, so The Hare stopped pouring. She realized the cup was balancing precariously on the edge of her placement, making it a little uneven. She tried again. We all waited with bated breath at the dinner table as she insisted, “I can do it myself!”
The Tortoise couldn’t take the tension anymore and reached over to the tilting milk jug, grabbing the bottom. The Hare jumped in frustration, trying to jerk it away from her sister.
“Stop! Let your sister pour her own milk!” I snapped, picturing a pool of sticky chocolate milk drizzling to the floor.
As The Hare finally started to fill her cup, The Tortoise reached out for the jug again, this time her arm went under the container and tried to grab the plastic cup.
” I said I could do it!” grunted The Hare, filling her cup to the brim.
DW slapped his hand down on the table.
I knew what was coming.
We all knew what was coming.
“Didn’t your mother just tell you not to help her with the milk!” he remarked sharply, “You need to listen better and not disrespect your mother like that when she gives you a direct order!”
We all nodded our head in agreement, and took a bite of dinner.
There was a moment of silence and then he continued.
And continued making his point.
The Tortoise’s eyes glazed over as she started to push food around her plate. The Hare slunk deeper into her chair trying to avoid all eye contact and I just couldn’t help myself.
I started to smile.
And then giggle.
And then suddenly I was bursting out in laughter.
Everyone stopped eating and looked at me in confusion.
“I’m so sorry, ” I gasped, catching my breath, “But you sound just like my dad when I was thirteen! He couldn’t let anything go either.”
The Hare tried to conceal a smile while The Tortoise looked at me in horror.
“What?” asked DW bewildered.
“My dad, ” I giggled, “would go on for hours about the same thing. In fact, if you were him, you’d probably bring this up again at breakfast.”
“Well maybe I should!” he said slightly offended.
I knew I shouldn’t have interrupted but this was such a deja vu moment. The right thing to do would have been to apologize and just stop talking.
But I didn’t.
“She’s doing exactly what I used to do – tune out after the first sentence, leaving my dad talking to himself.”
DW didn’t respond. He stared down at his plate and breathed deeply.
I stopped laughing. The kids weren’t sure what to do now. I was starting to regret my outburst.
DW stretched his arms out, laid both hands flat on the table and replied, “Then I guess all thirteen year old girls are a pain in the neck!”
“And let me tell you ALL the reasons why…” he said laughing and winking at The Tortoise.