Off the Grid Fridays—Secrets

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Have you ever kept a secret from your spouse?

Many of you know that I was nearly married before I met my husband, Ken. I dated a boy for seven years who came from an amazing family of accomplished and thoughtful people who loved me as their own.

But that’s not my secret.

  • My secret is that I didn’t know how to use a knife — and I couldn’t cut my own meat — until I was in my late teens/early 20s.

Here’s the story.

My parents divorced when I was young. My mother, brother, and I moved in with my grandmother. It was chaotic. At one point, my mother worked two jobs and my grandmother cared for eight children and worked nights at Dunkin Donuts.

Mealtime was a circus. We ate lots of sandwiches and finger foods. Soups. Stews. Rice. And things you could cut with a fork (like meatloaf). Then my mother remarried and had additional kids. If she cooked, the food was always soft or easy to shovel in our mouths. Casseroles. Mac & cheese. Drumsticks. Corn from a can. (Is there any other kind?) If food needed to be cut, we weren’t allowed to have knives at the table for fear that someone would get hurt.

So I lacked some basic skills.

Then I was sent to live with my father when I was 14. After several months, I asked him to stop cooking dinner for me. Ever have Captain-Crunch-coated baked chicken? Poor guy. Out of his element.

The end result? I had no table manners. Even now, it can be sketchy.

At some point, when I was 15, I met Jason. His father invited me to spend New Year’s Eve with the family at a nice restaurant. I had to ask everyone to be patient with me. I didn’t know how to cut my own food.

No one believed me until they saw me in action. My almost-father-in-law said, “Oh you poor dear.”

People learn by doing. When we went out for meals, I ordered steak and used the opportunity to practice my knife-and-fork skills. And I was never criticized. Only complimented (like a slow-witted child) for my improving skills.

And I never told my husband this story until Christmas 2010. He knows I’m descended from barbarians, but I never felt like confirming it. Also, it’s monumentally embarrassing.

I still can’t maneuver chopsticks.

How about you? Have anything you’ve kept from your spouse? Deep, dark secrets? Forget about your shame. Tell me!!

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