Family Life

Episode 27 – Understanding

“All I want is for you to do what makes you happy. That’s what will make me happy,” Denny said.

Sometimes when I’m unhappy, Denny gets stressed and says things that he regrets later. But it’s all in an effort to get me to be happy.

He’s just looking out for me. He wants the best for me.

It can take some convincing for me to believe this, but it’s true.

“You shouldn’t buy something that you will never use. You shouldn’t spend money on something you don’t like,” he is telling me.

“I can’t always know when I buy something if I’ll like it. Like shoes, for instance.”

Denny calms down at the mention of shoes.

This morning I confessed that I might not be able to stick to my plan of paying off the piano I bought for Christmas by February.

What was I thinking, buying a piano and planning a trip to New York in one year?

The thought of me not managing my finances throws Denny off.

“You told me that you’d have it paid off by February. You can’t go getting yourself into debt like this. How can I believe you if you tell me one thing and then the next thing tell me another? I can’t trust what you say. You shouldn’t be spending money you don’t have.”

He pauses. I have no comment.

“And now you’ve used my credit card and I’m responsible for it.”

“No, I’m responsible for it.”

“No, I’m responsible for it.”

“No, I’m responsible for it.”

“No, I’m responsible for it.”

I stop. I let Denny have the last word or we might go on like this forever.

Yes, I buy things and plan to pay them later. Does that mean I have a spending problem? Is that what he’s trying to get me to admit?

I am responsible. I pay for the things I buy. It just takes me a bit of time. In an ideal world people wouldn’t have any debt.

“It’s just that now if we want to buy something for the house then we won’t know which part is the piano and which part is for the house. It will all be on my card.”

“I don’t get it. I pay for all of it anyway.”

“The interest. I don’t know which is my interest.”

Oh. Awhile ago we bought furniture on credit and he paid the interest. That was the arrangement he suggested. But the piano interest is all my responsibility. I see it now.

“I can appreciate that you said no, you could’t afford to buy the wall unit,” he tells me, making a concerted effort, now, to be understanding. “And that you wanted to wait with buying a tablet.” He is working at being reasonable.

“And I think it’s a good thing that you are going to New York. And you’ve paid for your ticket.”

Earlier he made a hasty comment about my piano. It had to do with the futility of buying something my fingers only touch once a week.

I’m sitting down at the piano. I am playing My Favorite Things. “When the dog bites, when the bee stings….”

I find another song, about a boy who got “nuttin’” for Christmas. Giving shouldn’t be conditional like that. It’s pretty darned discouraging for a kid.

I find a hymn at the back of the carol book. “For Thy mercy and thy grace.” Comforting music. The last song in the book is Auld Lang Syne. I don’t like this song. It makes me cry. I hold back the tears.

My hip is hurting. I get up and do some stretches. Denny notices that I’m not happy. It’s not really my hip that’s bothering me and it’s not the song.

I admit to him that it’s what he said before about my new piano.

“But you have to understand me. Don’t you want to understand me? Let me explain.”

He explains. Yes, I understand. That is the point. I know what he is saying. I’ve heard it before.

But I’m still not happy. So he goes on. Explaining.

I get Denny. He is feeling badly and he wants me to make him feel better. He wants me to be happy. When I am happy, he is happy.

I’m looking at the piano and for some unknown reason I feel laughter welling up inside me. I try to choke it, but you know what happens, the harder you try. I finally crack up and Denny asks me why I’m laughing. I don’t know. I really don’t.

It doesn’t matter.

Now I’m happy. And he’s happy.

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