Gregger and I had a problem. And we fought about it. A lot. It was the silliest of problems, but we just couldn’t seem to get past it. We were both GIVERS. Neither of us knew how to TAKE. So we fought over giving, giving, giving. It wasn’t about giving things. It was about giving of ourselves. We both wanted to DO for the other. We wanted to do for the kids. We wanted to do for other people. We just didn’t know when to stop. So sometimes it got in the way. We needed to take time, stop, and realize that we were TAKING time and energy away from each other by GIVING so much, too much.
Knowing our birth order, it didn’t always make sense. I was the oldest, Gregger the youngest. He should have been a taker. He should have been the selfish one (no offense to those “babies” out there). Being a first-born, I was stereotypically disciplined (better defined as OCD), cautious (to a fault), controlling (I admit to being “a bit”), organized (again OCD), an achiever (self-competitive), and certainly mothering (wanting to take care of everyone). If Gregger had been the laid back, needing mothering type, maybe things would have been different. But I would never have gone for THAT guy! I loved the guy who was disciplined (also OCD), cautious (not nearly as much as me and more daring), controlling (because he wanted EVERYONE to be happy), organized (slacking off big time in the latter years), an achiever (OVER), and mothering (needing to take care of EVERYONE!).
Some of our spats were over the silliest things. After a long day at work, the mothering side of me wanted to “take care” of Gregger. I loved to cook (in the earlier years) and never minded the clean up. I would BEG him to relax at the table, catch up on his emails, watch TV, sports, whatever, but he could NOT do it. He refused to allow me to take care of him. He had to get up, clear the dishes, clean the counter, the table. It was “his” job. We seriously would argue over this. I was insulted that he would NOT let me take care of him. We would squabble over running errands, doing laundry, so many silly things. These weren’t fights. They were just squabbles. Inane altercations of who could “give” more.
But Gregger wanted to take care of EVERYONE. He took it upon himself to take care of his family, his employees, people he met on the street. Well, maybe that’s going a bit too far. But he was incredibly over-the-top generous. The word “no” did not exist in his vocabulary. I just wanted him to take care of himself in the same way. He was impossible! He actually gave me the gift of a “physical” for himself one year for Christmas. So even in the “taking” he was still “giving.” You can’t fault someone for being so good. For loving too much. For trying too hard. For being so good. For giving too much. Gregger was just that guy. He broke me at times. I turned into the “taker.” It made him happy. I guess in a lot of ways it made me happy too. I learned it wasn’t worth the argument. I’d rather find peace. Pick my battles. If he really wanted to clear the dishes, wipe the counters, wash his shirts, run his errands, I wasn’t going to battle him any longer. BUT. And it’s a BIG BUT. I did NOT want to hear how much he had to do. I did not want to hear he did not have time in his day. I did NOT want to hear he was overloaded. If he wasn’t going to take, he had to own it. So little by little, he gave it up. Not much. But a little. And I got to GIVE. And we got to SHARE. That was the best part of all.
40 years together is a long time to learn. Learn to compromise. Learn to listen. Learn to grow together. Learn to give. Learn to take. Learn to share. It wasn’t always easy. But we managed. And we got better and better and better. Gregger would ALWAYS be the better GIVER. It was just part of his soul. That’s why I loved him so very much. “If you continually give, you will continually have.” So we continually had. Despite the battles of giving, we had. Love. Friendship. Trust. Respect. Commitment. Communication. Selflessness. Passion. It worked. I miss it every single day.