A Bill of One's Own

I'm kind of a brat.

I hide my bratty self behind my sweet, gentle, demure self and try not to look at her in the eyes. If I shun her, maybe she'll go away. But sometimes if I'm not paying attention, she squirms her way through to the surface.

Like tonight.

We were putting Christmas away (It was a space thing, not a statement about the end of Christmas - which we don't believe in. We will be celebrating all week long!). I was wrapping fragile ornaments carefully in tissue paper for a year's hibernation. Bill was wrapping Daphne carefully in his trademark 'daddy swaddle'. He was talking to her gently, and my ears were perked because I love the way he talks to her.

Then he called her the nickname that I hate.

I cringed, and said, "Really, babe, does it have to be ___________?" You remember how I am about nicknames.

To which he sweetly replied, "I didn't open it to the committee."

Me: Well, then, maybe he should open it to the committee.
Him: It really had nothing to do with me.
Me: But I had to endure hearing it.
Him: It wasn't my decision, and anyway: it was too late. It had already stuck.
Me: retreat to quiet pouting.

This is the part where retrospect kicks in. Unfortunately, when my bratty self emerges, she usually leaves again pretty quickly, and I can see pretty immediately that I was in the wrong. Not only in the wrong, but was usually embarrassingly obnoxious about it.

I comb through the last ten minutes and grow more and more certain that I was wrong, was a brat, and am embarrassed. These little realizations click into place as I tape down the last of the Christmas boxes.

Click: He was right. It's not any of my business what pet names he chooses to call her. It's their relationship. He's her daddy. It does have nothing to do with me.
Click: I was thinking that since I have a thing for words, I have the corner on which ones are good and which ones are sub-par. This must be left over from my days as an English Major - you try not to become an English snob, but some of it inevitably rubs off on you.
Click: I was thinking how none of the nicknames I choose are annoying. But what if they do annoy him, only he has the decency to not mention it and let me keep them? It's not like he's adopted all of my nicknames for the kids.

Me: "I was a brat. I hate it when I'm a brat. I always notice just too late."
Him: "You weren't a brat."
Me: "I was. I hate that I can't take it back. Can I take it back?"
Him (with a Bill style grin that I go nuts over): "Sure!"

Him: goes back to looking up typefaces on the internet.
Me: And that's the type of guy I married. I asked if I could take it back, he said yes and now to him, that last exchange really never happened.

I recommend everyone gets a bill of their very own.


Nae said...

Aw Bill, what a wonderful man. What a wonderful example. :) I hope I can be more like Bill.

And may I add, Stepper, that it takes quite a wonderful person to even recognize their own behavior and then apologize for it. I hope I can be more like you too.

Grandpa Rusty said...

It is a marvelous, warm and fuzzy thing when one of my daughters demonstrates wisdom far beyond any level I have ever achieved. It happens, gang... your children will grow up to be better than you. And now I can watch and learn what I should have taught.

Anonymous said...

I know the grin. He charmed his mommy and her friends with it all the time. Glad the grin is still there.

The story is priceless. Thanks.