Amazing how wonderful and freeing it feels to get things DONE. Clean-up things and throw out things. I love creating piles: one pile to go in garbage, one for my adult children to check over to see if they want anything, one to go to the women’s shelter…..on and on. It is so satisfying to move each pile out of the house and send it on its way to an entirely new life I do that best in the spring. Life feels so much easier in the spring. Winter is filled with heavy accoutrements. Spring is the time for shedding all of that outerwear and feeling lighter and freer. It’s still chilly outside, but wearing a lighter weight coat and my new dog walking shoes which are nice enough to run errands in as well as take long walks with Aimee, just helps me have hope for the fresh and the new and I know life is going to be easier.
I have put away winter coats and scarves and boots and am now beginning to clean out the pantry. I found things in there from 15 years ago. Man it was satisfying to clean out cans and packages and bottles and bags of stuff I had no idea how to use. There was stuff in there I couldn’t even pronounce the name of nor do I know what to do with much of it. Clo was an excellent cook and a pretty darn good baker. I am excellent at making choices at the deli and picking out thing’s the President makes. Thus, the need for the pantry clean out.
What are you best at and what is your partner best at? Are your differences complimentary? What can you teach each other? I used to set up social events, but Clo was the one who had the energy and the delight in seeing to it we kept the obligation. In the moment, it seemed to me like a great idea to have friends over. When the time comes, I sure don’t want to be the one to cook the meal. But I am very good at clean-up and I am a pretty fair sous chef.
Sometimes we get annoyed at our partner for what they are good at and in that fraught state of annoyance we lose track of their brilliance and wisdom and creativity. I got annoyed when Clo wanted to make a big gourmet meal because it was a lot of work. But I certainly did like eating what she created and inviting people to join us. I often invited friends to join us for a meal and expected Clo to create a menu and cook the meal. She loved to entertain however I bet you she would have liked for me to consult with her more often before I extending invitations on her behalf.
It is a very good idea to appreciate your partner even when you don’t want to. Think of something they do well, something you don’t like to do or don’t know how to do, or don’t even value but still needs to be done. Tell your partner you appreciate that they took care of the task, even if you didn’t really feel like it was so terribly important to have it done. Still, your partner took their time and energy and did it. It is completed and I thank you very much; no need to fret about that anymore. I did not need a garden designer to create a new backyard for us but Clo wanted that and the result is lovely to behold. It gives her great pleasure to watch the garden as it moves from season to season. She finds surprises and delights in each new plant that pokes up through the earth. My pleasure is in watching her face light up and her voice get soft and tender when she discovers a new green baby sprout poking its new born head up through the ground.
Before Clo got so terribly sick she loved to play in the sandbox as I called it. That meant she moved plants from place to place, she bought new baby plants or bulbs or planted seed, she weeded and watered and pruned and delighted in getting her hands dirty and stretching her muscles as she moved from place to place in the garden. My very important contribution to this beautiful and creative expression of Clo’s love for all things alive and growing, was to sit on the porch or in the back yard with a book and a beer and every once in a while say, oh, how lovely, I really like what you did there, or yes indeed I do see that tiny baby plant and I hope it will grow strong and bring colour into our lives. She actually learned to appreciate this non-intrusive contribution because she learned over the years that I really wasn’t prepared to contribute more than admiration and respect for a job well done. I appreciated the work of art that was our garden, and she appreciated that I enjoyed it so much.
Daily appreciations help a lot. You like to be seen and you like to be thanked. So does your partner. Clo loved to create a garden and she loved to hear words of appreciation and encouragement from me about what I saw as her hard work and she often felt to be much like play. Often times in a relationship we get caught into thinking that was their job or we think I do that anyway and don’t even mind doing it, thus no need to mention it. However, saying thank you and receiving a thank you just makes your little heart glow and can make the whole day feel easier.
Get it? Say thank you for a work of love, even if that love is not being given in the way you thought you preferred to receive it. Love is love. Soak it up.
As I walk through the back yard this spring I remember the joy Clo took this time last year in creating what I am now enjoying. I am grateful for her skill, her love, and her determination to leave this lovely legacy for me. I feel her love for the earth, her love for creating beauty and her love for me in leaving this gift to hold me and nurture me this first spring I have without her. I can’t take care of it myself as she did. But I can deeply appreciate what she did and enjoy every minute of surrounding myself in her gifts.
I hold Clo’s gardening close to my heart. I clear out her pantry and throw away things I no longer need or want. My life is moving forward. Thank you my dear for what you gave to me. I cherish so much the gifts of life that you shared with me and with many others whom you also loved.