Monday, May 11, 2015

Opening the Mail

My husband likes to look through the mail, open the envelopes, read the contents out loud to me (even if I've already read them), place the contents back in the envelope, arrange the envelopes in a pleasing (to him) manner on the kitchen table and...repeat the process.

This evening, there were two pieces of mail that were of particular interest. One was a very kind invitation to an event we will unfortunately not be able to attend. The other was a bill.

"Who's that?" he asked in reference to the invitation, having taken out each piece that was in the envelope, examined it carefully, and returned it to the envelope. I tried to explain to him that it was an invitation to a friend's graduation and party, but I wasn't able to help him remember who the person was. Several times. At any rate, I placed the invitation on my bulletin board (okay, the refrigerator door) to serve as a reminder to send a card. He promptly accused me of taking the mail away before he'd even had a chance to see it. I gave the envelope back to him, and he reviewed it again, and asked me the same question again, and accused me of taking the mail away before he could see it again when I placed it back on the refrigerator door. This process was repeated several times, and then attention shifted to the invoice. Take it out. Read it. Explain it. Put it back. Take it out. Read it. Explain it. Put it back.

I was in danger of becoming impatient, so I decided to remove myself from the situation for a moment or two. I reminded myself that he really couldn't remember what he had just seen or what he had just asked or what I had just said. I took a few calming breaths.

"I wonder what this is," he said as I returned to his side. He was holding the invoice.

"It's an invoice from the insurance company for your medication," I replied.

"Oh, okay," he said as he folded the invoice and placed it carefully back in its envelope.

"Oh! What does the insurance company want, I wonder?" he asked upon seeing the envelope he was holding in his hand. Alrighty, then.

Now, I know you have a helpful suggestion for me as to how I can handle the situation differently in the future; however, what I'm trying to do is help you understand why I'm frustrated sometimes. So, stifle it. Thank you.

Why do I bother, when I know he isn't going to remember, anyway? Because I want to treat him with the same respect and kindness and decency that most of us would appreciate receiving from others. Even if he doesn't remember that, either.