On What it Means to be Truly Free
I really love Memorial Day. Yes, it’s the start of a long overdue summer, but it’s the flags & the grave markers that really get me. My life…your life…the freedom we have and take for granted…
Just take a quick look at the rest of the world. We could be living in a war-torn country. We could be emigrating by the thousands. We could be raising our right hands to a despot but we’re not.
Not yet, anyway.
On a lighter note…
My toddler is loving his freedom these days. So many cupboards to peruse; so many chairs and tables to scale. He is especially fond of the drawers & doors in my bathroom, and I’ll tell ya, it’s hard to keep one eye on the toddler when you’re holding a mascara wand to that same eye.
On Memorial Day, as we were getting ready to go to our friends’ house for supper, I turned away from Francis to spritz on some Giorgio. As I did so, I heard a loud glub! glub! glub!
“What the heck?!” That was not a sound that spritzing on perfume should make.
I spun around to find Francis taking a shower in mouthwash.
And about that dad in the check-out line? This, too, was on Memorial Day–and what I saw make me think about freedom.
Have you read the book Harriet the Spy? I am like Harriet in that I get caught up in drama–the human drama that goes on around me–to the point where I’m completely engaged in complete strangers’ lives. The man at the grocery store was a youngish dad. He had a small golden hoop in his left ear; he had a two-inch goatee; he was with his two sons.
The boys were clamoring for a pack of Double Mint. “You want some gum?” the dad asked. “Okay, calm down. We can get some.”
His cell phone rang and he held it up to his ear. “Hey,” he said, sounding guarded. “Yeah, I got it,” he said, “I got the corn.”
I duly noted the bulging bag of sweet corn.“That’s his wife, I bet,” I thought, smiling inwardly. “She’s calling to make sure that he doesn’t forget!”
“I know,” he continued, his voice on edge. “It’s fine. Yeah, I get it. I don’t know; I just got twelve ’cause I didn’t know how many people were coming. Yeah. Okay. It’s fine. Okay, bye.”
It must have been a five-minute conversation and by the time he had finished, I felt bad for him. He seemed…I don’t know…somehow less of a man than when he’d answered the phone. He scowled; he frowned; his shoulders sagged.
In short, the guy looked deeply unhappy.
The moral of this story–for me, anyway–was the damage I do when I’m controlling. There have been times when my husband’s come home and I’d be like, “You got white bread?! You know I buy wheat!” I don’t want to be that kind of wife–the kind that peck-peck-pecks at her husband’s judgement, and chips away at his freedom with her lack of trust.
It’s just bread. It’s just corn. It’s just…a lifetime together, for better or for worse.