There is a guy in my apartment building that drives a brand-spankin’ new vehicle. I’ve seen him wash and wax it in the middle of winter. I’ve seen him rinse the snow off and park it in his heated underground spot. However lately there’s been a different vehicle in his spot. It’s an older beater type of car. Probably a hand me down of a hand me down. When this car is parked there, new vehicle guy parks outside. Even when it’s been twenty below zero, it’s been parked outside. I realized that the beater car is his girlfriend’s and when she comes over, he lets her park in his spot for the night. At first this sort of annoyed me for some reason, probably because I’m far too selfish to let anyone park in my spot, secondly because if I owned his vehicle, with its shiny rims and sparkling exterior, I’d be damned if I would park it outside in the snow and salt and gross winter elements. So I walk by her car and roll my eyes… until today.
Today I was at Target – my holy land, shopping for baby shower gifts (yay more people I know are happy and having children…) I also had to buy dog food and bedding and hay for my piggies. There was also a bag of ice and laundry detergent, a heavy load of crap. As I bundled up my coat and pushed my cart through the winter slush of the parking lot I thought, “man, I wish I had someone to help me carry all this crap upstairs”. Then for some reason I thought of new vehicle guy and his girlfriend. That is love. How lucky is she that her boyfriend cares for her enough to park his brand new vehicle outside in the terrible Minnesota elements, just so she can get into a nice warm car when she goes to work in the morning?
This past month I’ve had to snake my bathroom drain, find the cause of the strange chemical smell coming from my jeep, figure out how to fix the strange chemical smell coming from my jeep, and take my dog out three times a day, every single day…even when it was twenty below. I’ve had to carry a 50lb bag of dog food into my apartment, kill a super icky centipede (which are my ultimate creepy crawly fear), attend “couples night” without a someone to be my couple. I’ve had to sleep alone when I watched a super scary Dateline Murder Mystery and there was no one around to share something I read that was hysterical. It’s been those little relationship things I miss the most. My ex always used to open doors for me, carry the heavy stuff, squish the nasty bugs and tease me for my fear of being “Datelined”. I miss that. I of course miss the other, more obvious stuff; talking to my best friend every day, cooking for another person, snuggling on the couch, but It wasn’t until today when I pulled into my garage – jeep full of things to bring upstairs – and saw the girlfriend’s car parked in new vehicle guy’s spot, that I realized how much the little things in relationships matter.
My step-dad is – gosh, I’m struggling for a word to describe him. If you don’t know him well, he can come off as a little disdainful at first. He has a very dry sense of humor and teases in a way that outsiders would consider out right mean (luckily for me, we share the same sense of humor), but he is honestly one of the most generous, kind, funny people I know. We’ve never said “I love you” and I don’t call him “dad” unless I’m being annoying about it, but I know how much he cares for me. He changes my oil when I’m up. He got me tires for my truck so I’d be safe this winter. He’s consoled me when I’ve been through a bad breakup, and even came to the hospital with me when my mom was too sick to be there. He’s the same way with my mom. He gets her flowers for her for almost every single “special” event through the year. Valentine’s day, mother’s day, her birthday, their anniversary, he’s even done it just because. He also changes her oil, washes her car, rotates her tires, vacuums the carpet and (I’ve just recently found out) dusts!
To him, I’m sure these are just “routine” things that he does for the people he cares about, but to me, and to my mom I’m sure, they are the “little things”. They are the reason I know he cares about me and my mom and my brother. He doesn’t need to say it, because it’s in his being. Maybe it’s because he’s my step-dad and I don’t see him that often that it’s easy for me not to take the things he does for me for granted. Every time he fills up my washer fluid or checks my tire pressure, I truly am grateful. But I guess when you’re in a relationship with someone and you see them every day and they always bring your groceries inside for you and they always let you have a bite of their ice cream, it can be pretty easy to forget these are tokens of their love.
My boyfriend helped me make the bed one day, and I ended up getting pissed at him for not doing it right. What the fuck? I should have been grateful that he was there helping me. Who cares if it’s done to my standard of right! It was a little thing that I missed that now I regret.
So, adding to my loooooong list of things I’m learning to do differently in my relationships (this is assuming I ever have the chance to be in one again…) is “appreciate the little things”, because when you take all those little things and put them all together, that equals a whole lotta love and caring, and that’s all I want in the end, someone to love me and care about me and to occasionally squish the random centipede. A heated-garage-stall kinda love.