Trash Bags

Trash Bags

We had one of the most productive Sundays we have had around the house in a while. After a month spent shuttling between hospitals more than being at home, these weekends where we tackle household chores and start the week with a fresh slate are truly cherished. As I sit here typing and struggling to keep my eyes open, I can't help but release a sigh of gratitude and contentment. I am thankful for the slowness of the day. I am thankful for clean bedsheets. I am thankful all of us are home. I am thankful I had the opportunity to bicker a bit with my husband.

Yes, you read that last line right.

Around mid-day, Josh and I were both in full swing cleaning mode, each engrossed in our respective tasks. The morning had been a bit chaotic, with Marsaili having multiple episodes of vomiting and refusing her naps, while Liam, still buzzing from the excitement of not one, but TWO birthday parties the day before, clamored for the banana bread to cook faster, more Wild Kratz episodes, and to go somewhere "fun." By the time the afternoon rolled around, we were both drained, yet keenly aware that we needed to keep our momentum if we wanted to get everything done that we needed to in order to start the week off calmly.

As Josh tidied up his side of the sink and his clothes on our bedroom floor, I made my way into the laundry room to change over the loads in the washer and dryer, as well as to do one of the tasks I absolutely dread doing...

The litter box.

We both hate it. And today was a day that the entire box needed to get dumped and wiped down. The floor needed a good vacuuming and scrubbing. It was a task, and though I dreaded it, I was determined to get it over with as quickly as possible. Trapped between a rug and displaced laundry baskets, I asked Josh if he could run down and grab me some trash bags. 

"I'll bring you some grocery bags, the trash bags we have for the kitchen haven't been holding up well with the litter," he suggested.

"Oh, well then grab one of the big oversized bags from the garage."

"No, I don't really want to waste those. Can I just get you the grocery bags? Just trust me."

"...I'd really like it if you'd just get me the trash bags, please," I insisted.

Five minutes later.

"I couldn't find the big bags downstairs so I got you two of the regular kitchen bags and you can double them up."

"I said they were in the garage!"

"What? I don't think you did...I didn't hear you."

...and so began our back-and-forth bickering for the next ten minutes, with me bringing out the ice-COLD shoulder, which then led to Liam saying, "Guys it's ok to be upset, but we gotta be nice," which then led to us both feeling guilty for being called out by our five year old, irritated that we were bickering, and just overall in need of some space.

Josh headed out to mow the grass and I stayed inside to finish up loads of laundry. While he was outside, I did what every highly sensitive spouse naturally does during that time of "taking space..."

I thought about my comeback.

I thought up a thousand different ways to make sure my perspective was heard. I ran through different conversation scenarios in my head bound and determined that he would understand why I had gotten upset. In the midst of my silent rampage, I glanced outside at Josh taking a break at the fence under the Georgia heat after bagging a load of the grass. I pulled out my phone and texted him, "Would you like me to bring you some Gatorade?" 

"I'm ok right now. Thanks, though."

Suddenly, I let go of my internal dialogue. 

We gradually finished up our tasks for the afternoon, and Josh made some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. With Marsaili finally asleep, I got Liam showered and in his pajamas before making my way to the dinner table. We all ate very contentedly after having spent the day running around. Before I made my way upstairs again to check on Marsaili, I stood up beside Josh's chair, gave him a hug and a kiss and said,

"I'm sorry I got so frustrated. We really shouldn't be fighting about trash bags."

A hint of a smirk crossed his face as he nodded in acknowledgement, replying, "fair enough."

We didn't need to say anything else. We didn't spiral into an hour-long communication rabbit hole or getting defensive about our respective feelings in that moment. We both knew that everything that needed to be said was wrapped up in that one sentence: we really didn't need to be fighting about trash bags. 

I'm so grateful for this moment of clarity. It was a reminder that sometimes, the little disagreements that consume our energy and create tension aren't worth the battle. After all, we have already battled so much together in the past year. Trash bags pale in comparison to what we have endured during our first year of navigating the challenges of medically complex parenthood.

I realized it was not about who was right or wrong but rather about recognizing the preciousness of the time we have together as a family. It's about choosing kindness, understanding, and forgiveness over the need to prove a point because life is simply just too short. 

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