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Friday, May 6, 2016

Facebook: The 'thing' that really pulls us together

Friday, October 19, 2012

There are some things that should be left in the hands of the experts. Take, for instance, Facebook. In the two years I have been "participating," there have been only a handful of times when I truly appreciated its merit--grandkids' pictures, for instance, but most other times, it just isn't for me. This month I had a dozen requests to play games or join clubs; I have no idea what that even means, nor do I have the time to figure it out.

Checking the "not now" box when someone wants to befriend me seems snobbish, like I think I'm Queen Elizabeth or something, and even though I have no idea who some of these requestors are, my attitude -- based on middle school insecurities, no doubt-- is that I must say yes. I live a lie. Those people aren't my "friends." It's hard to be a pal to someone you've never met, let alone those who journal their every move, from the kind of soap they used when showering to their take on restaurant fare to the belching problem they had that evening. I'm not making this up.

But today was the ultimate, the Grand Poo-Pah of all insane Facebook moments, when I read this message: "You have a request from Dave LaRoche to add him as your spouse." In other words, I had to confirm my relationship status that I am married to my husband. Apparently he had mentioned me as his wife in one of his Facebook comments (I don't read his, either), and, according to the legalese of computer networking, I had to validate it. The clever Facebook responses came in droves. From my true friends.

I re-read the message. I needed to add Dave as my spouse. Excuse me, but I thought I did that 39 years ago. If not, why did I sell my Volkswagen to help pay for our wedding? If not, why else would I forgive him on a regular basis for leaving me with 1/2 square of Charmin suspended from the roll? Had there been no marriage contract, would I seriously have made 486,000 gourmet tacos -- the only thing he really enjoys eating -- over the course of this time together? Shouldn't that account for something?

What about moving over 30 times because of his career, extending my college education an extra 20 years? Why would I agree to raise our kids solo for five months each year, drive our tractor to the shop for repairs and mow several times over the spring and fall months, had I not taken this seriously? Was it all for naught that I had denied the temptation to delete his daily political emails and fake keen interest when he dialed into Rush Limbaugh on cross-country trips?

I'm not finished. Did spending countless hours encouraging Dave to be just a tiny bit more social -- when being with people drains his energy -- matter at all? Or tolerating his system of "filing" important papers in his extensive collection of locked briefcases so that when we need proof of insurance we are searching for keys and opening one after the other after the other? And what about his show-and-tell lectures on how to squeeze every last bit of air from those Ziploc bags so there's more room in the refrigerator?

If that doesn't make a marriage, I'm not sure what does.

But I have a few ideas.... Backrubs when we're angry and little surprises to keep the romance alive. Him saying, "You pick out the movie," even when I know he's dying to see John Wayne's shoot 'em up western for the umpteenth time. Him handing me a cool towel when I'm in the middle of a hot flash or telling me I'm beautiful when I'm crying because I feel fat. The two of us getting on our knees every morning and thanking God we've been given another day of life together, knowing that many aren't that fortunate. Me laughing at his corny jokes or him thanking me (again) for making him tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Daily "I love you's" and "I'm praying for you's" and especially "Please forgive me's," even when he knows he's right. It's respecting and honoring and admiring each other, knowing we have something sacred that so many others wish they had.

And sometimes, sometimes, the thing that really pulls us together when so much out there (and in here) would pull us apart is as simple as adding him to my Facebook account.

Or not.

Patty LaRoche
Patty LaRoche: Face to Face