I'm trying to come to terms with all the little annoying things that your spouse does that irritate the shit out of you, but...simultaneously endear them to you, to the point where they become the things that you miss most...or maybe it just seems that way because the alternative to having to deal with them is too horrible to contemplate. All the stupid things that grate on your nerves, once silenced, seem like music, and I already miss them.
Leslie used to poke her tongue out to eat food. It was subtle, and if you didn't have breakfast and dinner with her every day for 15 years you probably wouldn't even notice it, but she'd just poke it out a tiny bit...like maybe a half inch...and it would greet her food, and she'd use the fork to push it into her mouth. Honestly that didn't annoy me. It just made me laugh. Emma and I would exchange glances at the table and she'd giggle and Leslie would say, "What?", and then I'd slowly push my tongue out, and take a bite. And she'd laugh and shake her head at me. It was weird and quirky and great.
Leslie used to mess up cliches. It was sort of her trademark. When we lived in the cottage house and she was actively training people every day, I was like, "How can you give presentations for a living and still not know that those expressions are completely wrong?"
"I really screwed myself in the foot on that one."
"Six and a half dozen of the other"
And she'd say them and my eyebrows would shoot up to my hairline like "Really? you're going to leave that hanging out there?" until she'd glance up at me and notice and say, "W-was...was that not right?" And it never was. And it was great.
Leslie used to make this weird breathing noise. Like maybe she'd been holding her breath without realizing it, and then would slowly but audibly let it out.
"You're doing it again."
"You're making that funny noise."
"What funny noise?"
"I'm not doing any such thing. I don't make funny noises."
But she did. And it was great.
Leslie had a booming laugh. I call it the "Dowden laugh". Her Dad has it, her younger sister has it, and she had it. And you could find her in a room full of 500 people or a building with a hundred offices just by zooming in on that laugh. If I had ever had a problem being the center of attention I would have hushed her or something, because that booming bark of a laugh was a "look at me!" It was so great.
She would clean the dishes with soap and water until they glistened...then put them in the dishwasher. So clean.
She called her mother five times a day. Every day. Once I pulled out the phone bill (back before I got it electronically) and I forced her to look at it. Sometimes there'd be a call to her mom for 5 minutes, then one minute would go by, then there'd be another call for 2 minutes, then ten minutes, then a call of 1 minute, then twenty minutes, then a call for 8 minutes. I was so exasperated by it. "What could POSSIBLY have come up that you needed to call back 1 minute later??" Any time the phone would ring...ANY time..."It's your mom, Les," and I was probably only wrong 5% of the time. We didn't need caller ID. We already knew. Those were the days.
She kept the house immaculately clean but her car was always a mess. We'd have long talks about how I just didn't see the dust or dirt or need to clean inside the house, but when we climbed in her car...she was totally unaffected by the filth. She bought a collapsible garbage container for her minivan and hung it by a little hook. She'd fill it with garbage...but never empty it! Looking back at it...it was all great.
All those little stupid piddly annoying things and soooo many more...and I want them back. I want them all back.
I told Emma at breakfast this weekend that on Mother's Day we'll make everyone poke their tongues out when they eat their food just like her mother did. She laughed, and then she and I both poked our tongues out and at our pancakes and smiled.