It’s the little things in a relationship that most people take for granted, that they don’t notice until they’re gone. Due to my conditions, or possibly even just my personality or my life experiences, I notice these things a lot, not just in my relationship but also with family and friends. The little things are the things that keep me going, that remind me that I’m loved, that I’m important and that I matter. Everyone thinks their partner is fantastic, and if they don’t they probably should be re-thinking that relationship, every time Valentine’s Day comes around we get to see unashamed declarations of love. Now I’m not going to post some vomit-inducing essay about why my boyfriend’s the best, I don’t agree with competing about things like that or making sweeping statements, my boyfriend isn’t the best (sorry Joe!), but he is the best for me. He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me, even if that version of perfect does involve regularly telling him to close the kitchen bin, take down his washing or tidy, well, anything!
It’s the little things he does that make my life that little bit easier, that make my day that little bit brighter. The little things like bringing me a cup of tea in the morning when I can’t face getting out of bed. Or getting in to my side of the bed to warm it up because he knows I’m constantly cold. The little things like making me a hot water bottle or giving me his hoodie so I stay warm and even letting me turn the heating on earlier because my hands and feet are going blue even though he’s only just put a jumper on.
It’s the little things, like when he went Christmas shopping two years ago he took photos of all of the Lego displays at the Lego shop so I could see them. He collected Christmas catalogues from all of the shops I’d be interested in so I could “shop” at home. He even bought me a beautiful cake home so that I didn’t feel too left out. He sometimes gets me macarons from the market because he knows I love them but we can’t bake them in our oven.
It’s the little things, like two weeks ago when he had to return something for me at a shop near the largest local garden centre, he took 40 photos of all of the different Christmas decoration displays that I might be interested in, firstly so that I could look, and secondly, so that if I’m well enough to be taken there whilst medicated I’ll already know what’s there and be a little less overwhelmed by all of the colours and choice. It’s the things like him hunting round town in all of the shops that I normally go looking in for Christmas decorations and reporting back about what they have and what I might like and even sending me photos so I can participate. It’s the little things like when he had to get glasses for the first time he knew I’d want to help choose frames so he sent photos of him wearing his favourite 5 so I could help choose.
It’s the little things like him trying to learn about different bra styles so that he could go bra shopping for me when I changed size after losing loads of weight. It’s when he then had to return almost all of the bras because I’d told him the wrong size. It’s when he then still didn’t mind doing it all again when I lost more weight and dropped another size. Don’t even get me started on the “fun” he had trying to get me jeans! I think it took 4 trips to Asda during which we discovered that I was a size 12 not a 14 like I thought and that their jeans are totally different sizes depending on what pair you happen to pick up, even when they’re the same labelled size, colour, and style. It was him not complaining about having to return heaps of stuff to H&M because despite finding out I’m a size 12, their sizes are ridiculously small and I was therefore a 14 there so he had to make the trip twice.
It’s the little things, like when he tries to explain about my condition and what life’s actually like for me, yet again, when someone has made a thoughtless comment or asked a silly question. It’s when I start explaining something about my condition and he reminds me that he does know and shows that he understands and has listened. It’s when we’re talking about something recent and he says why he knows I found it hard and can list all of the different aspects I struggled with. It’s when he reminds me to take my medication because I’ve forgotten it again and I’m feeling rough because my heart rate is through the roof.
It’s the little things like learning what I struggle with in restaurants so that he can help choose a table quickly that will suit me so that I’m not uncomfortable, I have to face the room and not have my back to it, I prefer being in a corner or against a wall so I feel safe, I can’t be near doors or draughts and I find mirrors really distracting if I can see myself in them, he knows all of this and also knows that I hate taking ages to choose a table because people end up staring at you. He also knows exactly what food I like and will help me choose when the menu is totally overwhelming and I feel like crying because I no longer know how hungry I am, what I fancy eating, and can’t even process what’s in each dish despite reading the sentence three times in a row.
These things all probably make me sound like a princess, and an absolute nightmare to live with but it’s fairly even, I also do plenty of things for Joe too and while a lot of the things Joe does are centred around my condition, when I’m well I do need a lot less “looking after” and I’m generally the driving force in the relationship, even now.
Today is our anniversary, 5 years together, and neither of us ever thought we’d be together for this long because we’re so different in personality and also in our likes and interests, but fundamentally, our morals and life goals are pretty similar and we’re striving for the same things. We’re a team and we work together, we never realised how important that would be or that we’d be tested quite so much so early in our relationship, I got ill just 2.5 years in and we’d been living together for 6 months. It’s been a real challenge and continues to be so but we try our best to work together and fight it, the little things in each day help us to do that. We laugh when he accidentally triggers a mini panic attack by moving too quickly near me on one of my flinchy days, we joke that I’m his pet because he has to feed me, shop for me, and “water” me, we’ve even jokingly considered getting our flat licensed for marriage so we can possibly get married before I’m 50. It’s the little things that help you get through the most difficult times, the big things help too of course but it’s the little things people do that have such huge importance. I don’t think many people realise what these small things mean to me, you may not even realise you’re doing them, or you may not bother because you don’t think it’ll make a difference, but trust me, these things make a difference. Every comment, text, email, phonecall, visit, chat, invitation, card, gift, anything really, is appreciated, I must be one of the most easily pleased and grateful people on the planet because I really do appreciate everything people do for me and I truly do notice all of the little things from the frequent “likers” of my FB posts, to the people who message me first, the regular commenters on my FB page and blog posts, to the people who offer to get things I need from the shops before they visit. Life is much happier when you notice these little things, especially when your world is quite small and not filled with the big things and gestures that most people hope for or expect. When you’re ill these little things are what keep you going and the more you notice them, the happier you are and the more you notice more little things, it really does spiral. I’d thought of a few little things that Joe does for me that I was grateful for but just in the process of writing this post I must have at least doubled that just in the time it took to write this because I thought more and more about the nice things he does.
I always love interacting with all you lovely readers so what little things are you grateful for? I’d love to know in the comments section below and make sure you tick the box to be notified about replies to your comment as I always do reply and that way you’ll know when I have! I can’t wait to read your Little Things.