I’ve been struggling to come up with my next writing topic ever since I put out my last story. I have been staring at a blank Microsoft Word document ever since. I enjoyed writing that story, I enjoyed sharing my world and being as real as I could be, but it sort of left me super down, and Stella was having a hard time getting her groove back.
My wife and youngest daughter were at a Cheer competition last weekend in Nashville. Leaving just the oldest and I home to cause havoc, but I think we both needed a rest. We did hardly anything, went to dinner one night, caught up on Survivor and went to the movies to see Dumbo. I strongly recommend that movie if you are looking to sneak in a nice 2 hour nap.
When I get stuck in these negative moods I reach out to the wife and kids and just say “any ideas for a story?” I like getting ideas from them because I get to see what they like or hate about our tribe. I know what I think is important or funny, but hearing it from them validates it much more.
I also have not really felt great the last few days. My sister says I have the “Man Flu” because she is tougher than me and every time I am sick they like to make fun of me. I do the same to her all the time about whatever little edge I can get on her so I’m always okay with being the one that is made fun of. My Dad taught me a long time ago that when you can take a joke it takes all the power away from the joke. My brother and I would make fun of him because he was bald ( I know, very ironic). We thought we were BURNING him. We thought when we said it we won whatever argument or fight we were in, but he never reacted. He just let us punch each other out and then deliver some knockout blow and we knew we were beaten. I would ask him about being bald after and he would say “It just doesn’t bother me, sorry, find something else”. I try really hard to live like that. When the joke gets turned on me I just let them happen. Honestly, sometimes they are funny, very creative and even make me laugh, but they never really bother me. I got to see that in the poker games we would have with my Uncles too. My Dad was ruthless with them, but when it got turned on him he would laugh just as hard. Life is way better when you are laughing.
Sunday was the day we were going to celebrate my Moms birthday. She’s easily the youngest 64 year old woman on the planet, and it’s not even really close. She LOVES to tell the story about when I was in the hospital at the age of 20 and the Doctor asked if my wife could stay in the room. Ah, Doc, that’s my Mom! I hate that story, but she LOVES it. She gets that sometimes with my kids too, how they will all be shopping and the cashier will say to them “Is your Mom taking you girls shopping, that’s so nice”. Again, she loves it.
Anyway, with the wife and youngest daughter in Nashville there would be two less people at dinner. I’ve written lots about these Sunday dinners before. They are a great excuse to see your family. A great excuse to have a glass of wine on a Sunday night before starting the work week off again. Tons of small moments that really mean a lot to us, even if we don’t see it at the time. I thought it would be a small gathering, especially missing the wife and daughter, but it was the opposite of that. My parents have a HUGE dining room table. It fits 10 very comfortably. Today though, on this “random” Sunday Dinner it was no match for us. There had to be a second table brought in because the family is growing. If my wife and daughter ended up being there we probably would have needed to rent a hall. Insane! But insane in the best way possible.
My parents always have a birthday dinner for whoever has a birthday coming up. I’m 39 and they still reach out leading up to my birthday to make sure I get to pick what they cook. They put so much time and effort into a meal. My Dad cooks for 50 people every time he cooks. When we go there for Sunday dinner I always leave with Monday and Tuesday lunch for myself and anyone else in my family that wants it.
As we sat down to eat, my sister, her boyfriend and their two kids had to sit at the little table because the big table didn’t have enough room left. And just as we were to sit and eat my Uncle walked in and everyone lost a little more of the real estate they had at the table. There were lots of hands reaching over you to grab a certain dish while you tried to get a few bites in. While we did have a few there that have only seen this chaos a few times, they all fit right in. Make a joke about someone, eat a little and try to laugh when the jokes turned on you.
So, thanks to my oldest daughter for the idea about what to write about. Helped me laugh and cry again while writing. I was able to put myself back at the table again, look around at all the smiles, and find my smile again. I was able to remember how lucky I am to have all these people on my tribe.
Life isn’t perfect, but it is filled with perfect moments. Sometimes maybe you just can’t see them. When the storm is at its worst lean on your tribe and they will always pull you back to the shore.
I love my tribe.