Friday, July 15, 2011

What Is He Really Saying?

We are almost done unpacking. There is one box in the garage and one labeled mantle items. This would be the box full of all the little knick knacks and picture frames that once lived on our mantle and other shelves in our living room. Little trinkets we picked up along our travels before we had kids. There are a few framed baby and school pictures I need to pull out but I think we will leave the rest in the box this time. I love the memories but I felt so much better when we cleaned out all the clutter and personal items when we were getting our house ready to show for sale. I love the little touches in other people's houses but in my own it turns out I prefer the less is more motto. All this to say we are down to finishing touches of moving in, the picture hanging, basket placing, finding the perfect spot to hang backpacks phase of the move.

In our house, my husband is the picture hanger. He is meticulous and hanging pictures involves a measuring tape, picture nails and level. He takes it seriously. So I felt like he had things under control. And then I came in and found this:

First thing you need to know is that this is a series of four pictures, all taken of the exact same location in Portland but at four different times of the year to represent the four season. These pictures are completely uniform except for the season, the falling leaves or snow covered ground is the only difference.

The second thing you should know is I like things lined up, symmetrical and balanced. I like things neat and uniform. I like clean lines and edges. And when you have four pictures in a series, I obviously want these to line up, to form a square. I want the eye to be drawn to the pictures, beautiful photographs we bought at the Saturday Market.

I appreciate my husband's efforts. I don't want to be the wife that nags and makes lists and then redoes all the hard work he does around the house. Usually I just let things go, but this was too much for me. So I asked him to fix it. Turns out he thinks the pictures look just fine like that.

But I am not sure I can live with these pictures as they are. I am anxious sitting here looking at them on the wall in front of me. I try to hide my obsessive side. I try to let go of having to have things perfect. And truthfully most of the time I don't care. Except with things that are permanent, things that I am going to pass dozens of times every single day, my need for order comes raging out.

Beyond the discord it creates in the space, I am seriously left to ask, "How can my husband do this to me? Does he not know me at all?" We have been married for 14 years. We have hung pictures on walls 11 times. We have laid the pictures out on the floor, mapped them out on paper, hung and rehung pictures until they are lined up just like we like.

See that is where my mind ends up going. I take disjointed pictures and turn it into a statement of my husband's understanding of me and even more so his love for me because he does not plan to rehang them. He said I am welcome to and I am pretty sure I will have a hammer out tomorrow but why is he not willing to do it for me? Why is it not important to him? Why does this become a huge issue instead of just a little hiccup in the picture hanging process? Why is my worth hung up with these pictures?

This is not a statement about my husband. It really is not. It is a statement about me. About my vulnerability and my willingness to read into things where no message was ever intended.

This truly was picture hanging. He wanted to be creative with the display. He likes the way it looks. Mostly, he just wanted to get the pictures on the wall and be done with his to do list for the day.

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