Since learning that being highly sensitive is a personality trait, which I immediately wrote about here, I read more about it. A friend of mine shared an article on social media that resonated with me: Why highly sensitive people benefit from minimalism.
I’ve written on this blog about how I experience great benefits from having things clean and orderly, and learned through the article my friend shared that this makes sense with a highly sensitive personality (like mine). I don’t like clutter because my eyes have no place to rest. I’m constantly thinking of things that need to be done or done differently.
When the dishes are piling up in the sink, it causes anxiety for me. If they’re piled high already, I need to ask for help. In my home, typically my husband cooks and I clean up. I do the majority of the cleaning – mostly because I like how things look and how I feel when they are clean. However, if I see too much of a mess, I am quickly overwhelmed, and have learned to ask for help. I also have learned that when I accept help, it has to be on the helper’s own timetable, which is not necessarily mine; also, their own way. (I cannot watch others do my home’s dishes – I’m way too particular about how to clean them and I worry when I don’t see it done my way.)
This morning I drove myself to go baby-sit by 9 AM. I kissed my sleeping husband goodbye, after resetting his alarm clock (which had sounded at 8, and which he had turned all the way off in his sleep.) When the child I was watching laid down for her nap, I called my husband, who had not yet responded to any of my “Are you awake yet?” texts. He answered in a panic, obviously in the middle of a dream at noon. I told him to text me when he was outside with the dog, who was probably figuratively crossing her legs holding in overnight pee.
When I got home, I noticed a sink full of last night’s dinner dishes, as expected, seeing as how he woke up at noon and his final project for school will be turned in online tonight. Then I walked into the bedroom, with no expectations and actually no thoughts given whatsoever, only to find: the bed had been made.
It was beautiful. The comforter was pulled up over the mattress. It hung evenly on both sides. I could not have been more thrilled. This was a big deal, because he just doesn’t get why I make the bed every morning. It’s not important to him. It doesn’t matter at all to him, and that’s okay with both of us. I don’t mind doing it. I just like it being done.
But seeing it done and knowing he did it – I was ecstatic. I know for a fact that he did it for me, and it meant everything.
The cliché rings true for me: it truly is the little things. A week ago, we participated in his youngest sister’s wedding. Their vows, especially hers, were precious. The whole ceremony reminded me of my wedding to my own beloved, and how I felt that day. Things have been occasionally rocky since – mostly magical, but once in a while, rocky, mostly due to my mental illness. I truly feel blessed, because he accepts me for everything I bring to the table; even manic, even depressed, even anxious.
Part of our happiness is due to our acknowledging the importance of the little things we do for each other. I have thanked him nightly for making me dinner for almost nine years now, and on the off chance I forget to right away due to my hungry devouring, he notices and sweetly asks if it tastes good. Also, he regularly thanks me for cleaning. Of course he doesn’t have to, but I really appreciate it. Growing up I was worried about someday becoming a parent, because parenting is so thankless. No infant thanks its mom for changing its diaper, feeding it, or staying up late with it. I was worried because I thrive on acknowledgement. My family used to joke about how much attention I needed, and it’s still true. Jason has accepted this about me and has learned to give me what I need, whether it’s thanking me for cleaning, or making the bed when I’m gone. And I’m so thankful for him.