“So, I have bad news,” my husband Adam said. “I forgot the dutch oven.”
My heart sank. We were wrangling the kids out of their carseats and walking into a Walmart five miles from our campsite to buy food for our vacation.
I knew he could sense my disappointment, but I did my best to forgive and forget and move on.
“By the way, I also forgot all of the stuff needed for cooking,” he added.
“What do you mean you forgot everything?” I shot back. “You still brought a mixing bowl, right?”
“Salt and pepper?”
“Cutting board and frying pan?”
He shook his head.
“I have my pocket knife,” he said.
I stared at Adam in disbelief. He had insisted, even begged me, to let him be the one to take care of packing all of the camping stuff, especially all of the items needed for cooking.
I decided to take a leap of faith that he would get the job done, maybe even do it better than I could. But after convincing myself to relinquish control, which took a lot, he had disappointed me. Adam knew that the cooking part of the trip was important to me—I felt like he didn’t care about me.
I was speechless as I walked into Walmart. I took my cart, baby in the front seat, and headed off in one direction. Adam took the older two kids and went off in another. I was so mad, telling myself he had proven me right, that I did need to do things on my own if I wanted them done right or at all. I wondered if I would be able to hand over control to him in the future.
Thankfully walking the aisles for 10 minutes did calm me down a bit. I realized I was overreacting, that even when I do the packing there are one or two things I inevitably forget. And just failing this once didn’t mean I couldn’t hand over control to Adam ever again. I reminded myself of all the responsibilities he handles at home, and handles exceptionally well.
By the time I talked myself down, Adam came wandering back to find me. He apologized profusely for forgetting an important part of the trip, and also was carrying a cheap campfire pan that was to be our plan B. I apologized for getting so upset. I calmly explained all the reasons why I was hurt and disappointed. Adam knew he had let me down, and that was cutting him deeply. He knew that my anger was about more than just some simple camping items and admitted that if he was in my shoes, he’d be upset, too.
Twenty minutes later we got back in the car. But now we were smiling and laughing about the forgotten items. We were bound and determined not to let a simple mistake ruin our family vacation or put a rift in our marriage. It wasn’t the first time Adam disappointed me, and it won’t be the last. We all make mistakes, what matters in a relationship is how you handle them. Even if it did mean I had to eat a few more servings of pork ‘n beans than I’d have liked, I know that Adam loves me very much and I love him.