Twenty-some years ago, I was cutting out of church services early when my bishop’s wife caught me and invited me to her two-year-old’s birthday party. I had just moved to the Philadelphia area and didn’t really know anyone, so I opted for an evening with this family. That birthday party began a great friendship with an entire family.
Everything about this story was weird.
From the headline claiming “A Crocodile Snatched a Tourist” to a member of the federal government noting, “If you go in swimming at 10 o’clock at night, you’re going to get consumed.”
I’ll admit, my perspective is colored by never having to worry about being “consumed” after dark.
A colleague recently described how she was sitting in bed one night thinking about some painting she had done recently with her husband.
After a few seconds of listening to her story, I realized she was talking about painting a room, not a date where you go and paint a landscape, or portrait, or something else in an attempt to approximate art.
I laughed and cut into her story explaining that it had taken me a while to figure out she wasn’t talking about a couples activity.
One of the guys chimed in from the corner of the room, “I want your life.”
Her: She blinded me with kindness.
Me: Do you mean, “She blinded me with science”?
Her: Oh, yeah. That.
I love that you had a corkscrew in your purse.
Every family has secrets. Some are bigger than others. The ones I’m concerned with here are the ones designed to keep the daily emotional peace.
You know the type. It’s like the one where I tell my sister not to tell my mother that I’ve gone skydiving or otherwise engaged in adventuresome behavior, because my mom doesn’t get a say in my choice of activities, and I don’t want to have to fight about that, yet again.
It’s like the one where my wife doesn’t tell her mom when people she distantly remembers die, because her mom will worry incessantly about whether she’s next.
Perhaps most amusing about these secrets is what they sound like when their rules are broken. A friend yesterday described it best when retelling this conversation with her dad, who lives half a world away:
Dad: Honey, I’m so sick, I don’t know if I’ll survive.
Friend: Dad, have mom take you to the hospital
Dad: I can’t, she told me not to tell you because you’d worry. So, don’t tell her I told you.