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Let That Shit Go!

Years and years ago, when we were in the middle of an argument, my dad once said, in exasperation, “You always want things your way, don’t you?”. Surprising us both, I burst out laughing because of course, I did. And so did he, and that’s why we were arguing, right?

Every time I think of that interchange, it makes me smile. But, do I ever think of it when I’m in the throes of disagreement - not usually. I guess I’m too busy trying to force things to go my way. Still.

When I first moved in with my sweetheart six years ago, I was shocked at one of his very ingrained habits. He is a creature of habit and pretty much always does things the same way. Having said that, I can’t comprehend how he so routinely loses his keys, but I digress. Each and every morning my love arises, he puts on his clothes, goes to the kitchen, cooks up two eggs, two pieces of toast, and his coffee. Then he puts the dishes away and ... leaves the dirty pan on the stove, with the spatula, ready for the next day, dirty. Every. Day.

Well, I can assure you, that’s not how I was raised. Once you make a meal, then you tidy up. The whole kitchen. And the dining table if that’s where you ate. You wash the dishes, then wipe the counter. When I think about it, it’s kind of an ordeal, but those are the rules.

Apparently, nobody told him this rule.

I gently requested that he clean up the pan. I tried modeling good behavior and cleaned it up myself. I tried huffing and puffing while I cleaned it up myself. I pointedly left it dirty in the sink. I demanded that he clean up the pan. To no avail.

And then one day, I decided to try something new. I tried letting it go. I gave up caring. And then I reframed it. I even commemorated the decision with a poem.

The Things You Leave Behind

In the kitchen, at the breakfast counter

The pencil from your morning sudoku

The crumbs from your toast