[From February 7, 2016: Because sometimes the little things… aren’t.]
I know it wasn’t really about toothpaste. Standing there in the middle of Target late on a Sunday evening a couple weeks ago, though, it felt like a personal assault, like the final insult in a string of ridiculous injustices being thrust upon us. And I was so pissed. Sure, the rational reaction to the revelation that Crest discontinued my toothpaste flavor of choice would have been to simply pick another. It’s just toothpaste, after all. But I had no interest in being rational. In my mind, it was yet another thing being ripped away so, damn it, I was going to wallow in that misery for a while.
I am a fixer and a problem solver by nature, so one of the most difficult realities of this last year has been the realization that I can’t fix it for her. Some days, maybe even most days, I don’t feel like I can even make it slightly better. The entire shit storm remains, undeniably and unflinchingly, out of my control. I don’t always know what to do with that feeling, the helplessness that comes from watching something slip away in slow motion, unable to stop the clock or right the horrible wrong. I understand the difference between the things I can change and those I can’t, but there is no “serenity prayer” that seems to bring any comfort.
When I came home from work the other day, there was a package on the porch. Inside, an entire case of the toothpaste I love so much. After I told Chelli about my mini-meltdown at Target the week before, she decided she would quietly find that toothpaste for me. It was something small she could do, a way for her to feel like she was still contributing, living, and being a partner. She knew she couldn’t fix everything, she told me, but maybe she could make this one thing better. And so she did.
It wasn’t really about the toothpaste for her, either.