In Sickness and In Health and After Irrational Blow-Ups Over Cheese Graters
I instantly regretted my decision as the cheese grater slammed on the floor, the handled snapped off, and my husband stared open-mouthed at me as I picked up the pieces, embarrassed but still incredulous. “Why doesn’t anybody in this house put anything away in the right place?” I angrily sputtered. It was my feeble justification […]
I instantly regretted my decision as the cheese grater slammed on the floor, the handled snapped off, and my husband stared open-mouthed at me as I picked up the pieces, embarrassed but still incredulous.
“Why doesn’t anybody in this house put anything away in the right place?” I angrily sputtered. It was my feeble justification for throwing kitchen utensils across the room, and I wasn’t letting it go.
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“The cheese grater is supposed to go in THIS cupboard,” I told him, kicking the appropriate door. No inanimate object was safe during this tirade, it seemed.
“I put it in the right place!” he insisted.
“Obviously not,” I hissed and turned my back on him.
I can’t remember where the conversation went after that, but I’m pretty certain things were slammed and egos were bruised. We had no fairy tale ending that day.
I didn’t used to be so angry. Sure, I’ve always had a slight temper, but throwing things? The cheese grater incident took place five years into my marriage to a man with ADHD. And I was beginning to blame him for everything – including my escalating anger.
I mean – the responsibility of the bills, childcare, major decisions, and pretty much all family scheduling were on my shoulders. He was more than willing to do anything I asked… but why did I always have to ask? Weren’t we supposed to be partners? Didn’t I deserve a break once in a while?
So when faced with a very physical symbol of his ADHD – a cheese grater in the wrong place – I became infuriated. And it had to be thrown.
Obviously, my anger was his fault. His ADHD made me do it… er… something like that.
I don’t remember how the cheese grater fight ended, but I can tell you with certainty that my empathetic husband forgave me – and very kindly. He always does. Does his ADHD make him more understanding and forgiving? I don’t know, but I do know he works hard to have patience with my shortcomings – such as, ahem, anger.
He also works hard to overcome the symptoms of his ADHD, and as much as he would probably like to blame ADHD for his behavior, he doesn’t take the easy way out. He keeps working and trying. And forgetting. And trying again.
We don’t want ADHD to be the cause of all our fights. We try to make light of it by chorusing, “ADHD moment” whenever something silly (such as a cheese grater in the wrong cupboard) happens. But that doesn’t always work either. In the right moment, it diffuses the situation. In the wrong one, it makes my husband feel dumb and me feel like a monster for being frustrated over something he can’t always control.
We haven’t figured out the answer yet, but we do know it involves a hefty helping of forgiveness.
Six years later, we still use the handle-less cheese grater. I kept it to remind me of the day I lost my mind over an ADHD symptom that really doesn’t matter.
The other day, I pulled out the cheese grater (from the correct cupboard), and laughed about the incident that enraged me so long ago.
“That was so stupid of me,” I said to my husband and recounted the memory.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. “I don’t remember you throwing the cheese grater. I’ve always wondered why it doesn’t have a handle!”
We looked at each other and laughed. “ADHD moment,” we sang.
That time, it worked.
Updated on May 10, 2021