The first time I ever saw my parents fight was over a can of paint. We had been living in our new house for a year, but were just getting around to painting and decorating thanks to a water heater flood throwing off our timeline (that’s a story for another day).
My mom had decided she wanted the living room to be burgundy with a textured finish that required white glaze and cheese cloth. We all stood in the living room nervous to start painting. Not sure why we were too scared, before the flood our wall was adorned with a 3D mural of Spain, courtesy of the previous owners. So anything we could do would only be a step up from there. Finally, after much reservation from my mom, my dad dove right in and started applying the glaze to the wall. But it looked weird.
What you need to know is my dad is the kind of guy who does things a certain way. He leaves his shoes on all day, sits down every Sunday to pay the week’s bills, and doesn’t necessarily have an eye for creativity. So, as you might imagine, he started to apply the glaze in perfect circles in straight lines. But my mom was not pleased with that one bit, and she was totally justified. It looked horrible. But instead of just taking the project on her own (which she should have done in the first place – I got my controlling stubborn nature from someone!) she freaked out and after much yelling, awkward looks from me, and cheese cloth hitting the fan, she stormed out of the house.
Remember when I said this was the first time I ever saw my parents fight? Well, I wasn’t kidding and this ROCKED MY WORLD. Standing in the kitchen, watching my dad fume, wondering where my mom went and if she was ever coming back, contemplating taking over the whole project in attempt to make everything better. But instead I think I cried and sat on the couch, looking out the window, praying (or I guess something that) to see her headlights pull into the driveway.
Of course my mom came home, she finished painting the living room, and everything was fine. But looking back, this was a defining moment in my life. It was the first time I realized my parents were just normal people who can make mistakes and fight and cry and be irrational. Seeing that facade fall apart happens in everyone’s life, and this is the day it happened for me.
Looking back on this story now I also realize watching this fight has shaped the way I am now. Shaped the way I fight. Shaped the relationships I’ve had since then. Watching my parents fight but then move on and be totally okay meant I learned it was okay to fight. Yelling and screaming doesn’t mean relationships are falling apart. Being irrational and mean doesn’t mean whoever it was directed at will stop loving you. It means you need to find people who will accept that and move on.
So here’s to the decorating breakdown I know I will have one day and to the fact that I’ve found a fella to stand by my side who wont leave me when I freak out about the color of the paint or the fact that something isn’t perfectly straight on the wall (but will definitely make fun of me for it later, and rightfully so, because seriously that shit does not matter).