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Thursday, March 4, 2010

One eye shut

I am by nature a little bit of a neat freak.

I cannot stand clutter. Unmade beds make me cringe. I consider it a near-crime to leave dirty dishes in the sink for more than half an hour. And I've been known to systematically arrange spices in alphabetical order in their little nook near the stove.

So when I got up one morning a week ago and nearly tripped over Rog's work boots carelessly splayed on the floor by the front door, I was not too happy.

How hard could it be to put them up? I wondered out loud. Seriously, how long would it take to put the boots in their proper place? Does he think the darn things are gonna grow wings and fly over to the shoe rack? Or perhaps he expects me to pick them up and put them away for him every single day? More importantly, how many times must I kindly ask him not to leave his boots on the floor, but to place them neatly in the shoe rack where they belong? Arghhh! Men!!!

My mind was going a hundred miles an hour and I felt the irritation rising. Like I said, I cannot stand clutter. Rog was still asleep, but in my mind, I began to rehearse what I would tell him when he got up. I would let him know I had had it. I was tired and sick of work boots being hastily kicked off and left wherever they landed. I had enough toys to pick up and put away at the end of the day; could he puh-leez help me out and take care of his own stuff? The longer I stared at his shoes lying helter-skelter on the floor (and this wasn't the first time), the crabbier I got. (I am not always crabby, but it was one of those days when the tiniest thing seemed super annoying to me. We all have such days, I'm sure).

Just when I was on the verge of waking Rog and pronouncing the five words men dread to hear, "Honey, we need to talk," (which would probably have started a fight, because who wants to be awakened early in the morning to discuss shoes on the floor?), two things happened.

First, my gaze fell on a bouquet of pink daisies Rog had given me a day before for no particular reason, but just because, in his own words, "I thought of you when I saw them. I thought you would like them."

Second, I remembered a conversation I had with a dear friend who lost her husband not long ago. His health had steadily deteriorated due to years of alcohol abuse. My friend used to tell me she would yell at her husband in moments of frustration (over his alcoholism). She was understandably fed up and told me she felt extremely unlucky to be married to such a man. However, the day he passed away, she sobbed on the phone and told me, "MJ, what I would give to have him alive and back with me again!" She went on to say that if she could go back in time, she wouldn't have talked to him rudely despite her frustration. She would have been kinder. She would have been more supportive of his efforts to change. She would have done this. She would have done that. Oh, so many would-haves.

I looked at the pink daisies. And I thought about the words of my mourning friend. I tiptoed into the bedroom and silently stared at Rog sleeping soundly, snoring loudly. Despite his little imperfections, he was very much alive and well and still with Teyla and I. Then I made a beeline for the "scene of the crime," where his work boots still lay on the floor near the door.

Quietly, I picked them up and placed them neatly in the shoe rack. There would be no talk about putting shoes in their proper place that day, I told myself. Maybe later, much later, when we were both relaxed and happy. Perhaps on the weekend. I would mention it sweetly, not in a nagging or rude manner. Then, after that, if he put his boots up, I would thank him for remembering. If he forgot, I would pick them up and put them away without bitching. Again. And again. And again.

That day, I vowed to embrace an old Jamaican proverb I once heard:

"Before you get married, keep both eyes open, and after you marry, keep one eye shut."

May God grant each of us a heart full of love and mountains of patience to focus on the positives our mate has to offer, and to keep one eye shut as much as we possibly can.

My hubby, Rog, and our 8-month-old baby daughter Teyla sleeping soundly recently

- by MJ Browning


  1. I like that saying, keep one eye shut. If I could remember it, how many arguments it might save me from!
    Gorgeous picture.

  2. "Before you get married, keep both eyes open, and after you marry, keep one eye shut."

    It is very true, and I bet nobody will deny.

    Good story.

  3. It is very true, as what rainfield already pointed out. Though sometimes, it is really hard to keep one eye shut...

    I always bear in mind that no one is perfect, for all i know I could be worst than my hubby....and that there were countless moments that will more than compensate for few imperfections.

    this is very inspiring and a lovely post, MJ girl!

    i love the picture of rog's boots...

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  5. Very inspiring. This is all I can say because as you have said in one of your emails to me... we are on the same boat. I couldn't agree more.

  6. Good story, MJ, and I like the picture very much. By the way I am known to arrange my spices and cans of vegetables and fruits alphabetically!

  7. your post left me misty-eyed, MJ. i have my own frustations concerning Mond but seeing him & Kyla so happy everytime they are together washes away all the annoyance i get.

    i love that picture of Teyla & Rog sleeping soundly. priceless moment very well captured! and hey, i love "just because" moments too. ;)

  8. This is beautifully written, MJ girl! Lovely story. Rog is so sweet! I love the photos, espcially of Rog and Teyla.

    Doods have his little quirks too. Truth is, on my last birthday (Feb), I suddenly had an out-of-the-blue feeling to miss work. I was inviting him to be absent too. I was so let down when he won't give in. It was my birthday after all. *sob* So I gave in to what sounded practical and went to school. Turned out, he had roses delivered to school. This time, I didn't just sob, I cried! As you've said, men!

  9. I appreciate stories like this, reminds me to show more kindness and appreciation to my hubby.

    I remember one show I watched where the wife was complaining about her husband not putting the toilet seat down after he used it. The host made a comment saying, what is more important to you, your husband or your toilet seat ?

    Thanks MJ - this is a lovely post and the pictures are so cute !

  10. oh power ranger pal, what a precious precious sight- your Rog and Teyla...thank you for reminding me to love,love,love and love all the more with "one eye shut" but with a heart open to understand, mwah!

  11. Great post, MJ..Sometimes, littlest thing can be very annoying, but you've passed it with grace, and also feel at peace..

  12. thank you, everyone, for your kind comments!! i'm glad you like my post:)

    linda- on arranging cans and spices in alphabetical order- hey, nice to know i'm not the only one!!:)

    tes- on doods having roses delivered to your school on your bday- girlash, the poor guy was probably freaking out when you suggested missing work that day, hehe! thank God you didn't get all mad and just went to work that day. oh, i would have cried, too:) what a sweet guy you have!!

    chay- about the toilet seat story- very good point!

    cher- i love the pictures of mond and kyla that you so often share with us:) those two do get along really well and i bet you are so happy about that!!

    everyone, again, thank you!! this is actually my first blog after a couple months .. a big step for me since it is not easy to write at the end of the day when i am already tired from caring for teyla. but now, you have all inspired me to write some more:) so thank you!!

  13. PS- eng- i'm glad you like the pix of rog's boots:)

  14. what a beautiful and inspiring story MJ, we all have our imperfections, and that's what I believe make us better persons as we accept what we think is the imperfections of the other and not make them become like us.

    I love the picture of Rog and Teyla so much, hope we get to read more of your stories and posts.

  15. I love your picture and your words - so inspiring.




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