I’m at the Frist, a Nashville art museum. My husband asked to go this time. Plenty of times I’ve wanted to go and he has come along to humor me. I’ve asked him repeatedly to tell me if there is something he wants to do. It is important to me that he express himself. I want him to be the best he can be – to be the person he is meant to be.
I don’t want him to just go along with what I want because I want it. That is how he was raised. Just agree. Keep the peace. Your opinion doesn’t matter.
I’m trying to retrain him. It is kind of like getting a shelter dog.
This show is on Art Deco cars. There are actual cars inside this museum. I’m a little curious about how they got in here. The place is packed. I think it is smart that they timed this with the movie “The Great Gatsby”.
I’m bored senseless.
I’m glad there is a bench for me to sit on, because my husband has taken three times as long as I expected in the first room alone.
I remember a time when I was working in Chattanooga. A family came into the craft store I managed. It was the middle of the day and they were all a little tired and cranky. Naps should be built into vacations, but they aren’t.
The mom came in and her son, all of 4 or 5, came in just afterwards. He took one quick look around and, realizing there were no toys there for him, said in a loud voice “All right Mom, time to go!” Mom’s smile faded. Her shoulders slumped, and she started to leave.
Something struck me as very wrong about this. I decided to speak up.
As her son stomped towards the door, I said “Hold on, buckaroo.” That got his attention, and Mom’s. So far, so good.
You run a risk when you challenge people’s children. The parents tend to take it personally, as a statement against their parenting skills. Sometimes it is. But sometimes it does indeed “take a village.”
I continued. I made a pretty good guess about what they had been up to today to illustrate a point. I started with “I bet that you’ve been to the Aquarium and to the Creative Discovery Museum today.” Everything hinged on this being true. Yup. They had, he nodded. So far, so good.
I followed with “I bet your Mom waited on you while you were there, having a good time.” Also a guess, but a safe one. This looked like a self-sacrificing kind of Mom. Yup, another nod. The set up was complete. I continued. “This is a place that your Mom wants to see. It is your turn to wait on her. That is part of being in a family.”
Boom. He got it. He sat down in a corner, out of the way, and was perfect. He waited, patiently.
Mom and Dad were stunned. They stared at me. “Can we bring him back for behavioral training?” they asked. I explained that no, it isn’t about him. It is about them. They have to explain the give and take of being in a family. I explained that he wants to please them and not to just get his way all the time. He needs to learn about sharing. They have to explain it.
I’m reminded of the Hawaiian word “ohana” – nobody gets left behind. This is a concept some of us learned from the movie “Lilo and Stitch”. It is a word for family. In the biggest concept it means all family – blood, adopted, and intentional.
We are family, my husband and I. Family isn’t about blood. It is a feeling. We chose each other. We choose to be together, to look out for each other, to cheer each other on. We learned from the friend who married us that “Joy shared doubles it, trouble shared halves it.” That is part of what being in a family means too.
You can be blood kin to somebody and they aren’t very nice. You can have a better relationship with friends than your own kin. Family isn’t about blood but action. You have to make a family to be in a family.
Sometimes being in a family isn’t easy. Sometimes it isn’t very fun.
Right now I’m feeling pretty bored. But I’m glad I’ve got a way to write in my blog while I wait. I’m glad we got to be here for free. And I’m glad that he asked to go to this, and is enjoying it so much.
I’m grateful for this funny little family we have.