Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Joy of Order

Dear John,
 
I had a lovely day. I got the house cleaned, and Junior mowed the yard for me while I swept out the garage, watered the petunias, and filled the bird feeders. So all is neat and tidy and orderly, which just delights my little anal retentive heart no end. It feels good to go to bed tonight with everything, inside and out, like it should be. Even the bills are paid.
 
Bless you, you put up with my analness. You even learned to appreciate it. You used to say that I wanted to put the whole world in matching, labeled containers. And you were absolutely right. I feel like a failure if I have to look for anything; this is my house, after all - I should be able to instantly put my hand on anything in it. And it's rare that I can't.
 
Disorder is painful to me. It's distracting and ugly. And it takes so much less time to put something back where it belongs that it does to hunt for it the next time you need it. But there is more to it than that. Order has a kind of beauty to it. That's why I'm so drawn to Shaker design. Sensible, practical, order is beautiful.
 
Order didn't matter as acutely to you as to me, but it did matter and you did understand that part of me. Your mother was much the same way. And, bless you, you never threw dirty socks - or anything else - on the floor and expected me to pick it up for you. Your father would have spanked you within an inch of your life for that, wouldn't he? And I did get to see your dorm room when we were dating; it was as clean and neat as mine was. So, of course, I married you.
 
Thank you for liking order. Thank you for not being surprised when the first thing I got up and did after getting out of the hospital after the car accident was re-organized the linen closet. I guess what I'm really saying is that I'm grateful to you for letting me be me, and valuing all that meant.
 
Now I'm learning to keep house for just myself, not for you, and that is challenging. But I'm doing better with time. And tonight, all is as it should be.
 
Your anal retentive wife,
Joan.

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