My longest running argument with my husband constitutes The Ketchup Story.
His Version: I stabbed him with a fork.
My Version: What, I have to SHARE my ketchup?
This was the first of MANY lessons I, an only child, have had in sharing and unselfishness.
Only children never had to do that sharing thing. There was no one to share with. Our parents just gave us stuff and we…ummm…took it.
My husband was also an only child but he had a plethora of step- and half- brothers and sisters who ran in and out of his life growing up. He did not have those “kind and loving” hovering parental units around to make him feel like he was the only important person on this earth. As, of course, each child is.
God must have been doing the watching over that child, or he had some really phenomenal angels, based on the pure fact that in spite of all boy-in-the-woods, got-run-over-by-a-tractor childhood stories (where WERE the adults??), he lived. In fact, he mostly raised himself (like wolves) and also honestly, I think he was born with the “give unto others” gene.
Which, let’s face it, little entitled only child me was not.
So, The Ketchup Story.
I was about 27 years old and we were just dating.
We dated for five years until I agreed to marry him, and we still bicker quite a bit, so as you can see we have had a lot to work out. (That “mirroring each other” thing is real, I tell you.)
At this early stage seventeen years ago, we were sitting at a Ft. Lauderdale apartment, watching the news and having dinner. Part of the meal included tator tots, which of course involves ketchup.
Knowing my husband, he probably made this meal for me. At some stage, he ran out of ketchup and decided to stick his food in mine. On MY plate.
This is the stage where he accuses me of stabbing him with my fork to stop him from sharing my food.
This is the stage where I distinctly recall being disgusted and appalled at the germ sharing involved in someone else sticking their food in my ketchup. No stabbing ensued to stop this activity!
He has told me that he seriously debated continuing to date me at this stage because,”How could someone be so selfish?”
Since that day, we have shared a truly disgusting series of bodily exchanges. And I don’t mean that kind.
We have jointly changed “four hander” diapers.
He has seen my guts splayed out on the hospital table – set aside to deliver our child – twice (no – I did NOT look – that’s what the sheet screen is for, people! So we don’t pass out!)
He has helped me give IVs to cats, shot a rabid fox, and treated every animal that has ever traipsed through this place for some bloody event or another.
We have concocted food cocktails (laced with medicine) out of dog and cat food (yuck!) for said creatures and sat there side by side doing all manner of cajoling until it was ingested by the right party.
We have raced our children to the emergency room because they stopped breathing, were bleeding profusely, had broken limbs, or needed their eyes sewn back in (he held the kid, the doctor did the sewing, I did the words of comfort while somehow not really looking and only passing out in my mind).
We have cleaned up pee, puke, and poop from children, animals, and even sometimes ourselves.
My point is, sharing food is something I now do without giving it a second thought, because I have had to share much more than that over the years. It no longer bothers me in the least.
I admit it, I am reformed and long ago saw the error of my selfish ways.
And yet, to this day, seventeen years later, I still am hearing about that time I stabbed him with the fork!
And I still swear, I Did Not Do any such thing!
Moral of the story: you have to share your food, your physical self, your love, your compassion, and your fears with other people. Even if you don’t want to and it doesn’t come naturally and you don’t think you should be so obligated.
You share out of love.
So if you have no one to share with, go find someone. In fact, sharing of yourself IS the way we most commonly make connections with others.
I realize the moral of this story could be something more like,.”“This is what it looks like when you decide to get married, have children, and little pet friends.” I can see how that might be a deterrent.
After everything I’ve seen and done, I would look at it this way – suppose you were ALONE dealing with all the little messes you alone created?
Isn’t it better to create MORE messes and have someone to share them with you?
That way at the end of the day you have someone else to tell you that you aren’t crazy, that thing really did happen.
Or at the very least, someone to laugh about it with.
Or hold hands with.
Or I don’t know – there is something to be said about it in there, somewhere. I think.
So back to the sharing and unselfishness.
There are some people who are thinking,”Well of course I share! How obvious can you be!”
There are others who are hoarding their ketchup bottle and have their fork at the ready.
Determine which one you are and go forth.