In yesterday’s blog post, I alluded to an inside family joke about having great seats. Well, we did have great seats the production of Les Miserables (view of the picture to the left is from our seats – they were GREAT!), but my family would have said that we had great seats whether or not it was true. They now pretty much always say that we have great seats – wherever we go – thanks to their awesome sense of humor and their overwhelming need to give me a hard time about past events.
To set the stage to understand this, one must realize that our family’s love language is mockery. When my pastor huz and I do premarriage counseling with couples prior to the wedding (hence the “pre”), one of the modules that we cover is love languages. Gary Chapman has a great book that details the love languages (click that link if you want to take the little quiz) that he has determined is the way that the majority of us receive love. Although each of our family members has his or her own love language (acts of service, gifts, physical touch, etc.), we have determined that – in order to be a member of this family – we must be fluent in mockery (showing itself as sarcasm at times).
In addition to that piece of background knowledge, the other piece that one must know is that I have a great need to make sure that others are happy in almost all situations. StrengthsFinder would call this harmony, but it shows itself in empathy – I can actually feel the way that others feel. I am not always correct as to the WHY someone feels the way that I am feeling that they feel, and YES – this causes disasters at times, but that is not the point of this blog post!
The “great seats” event occurred this past summer. The fam was in the car en route to a family reunion in Aberdeen, SD, where the huz’s mom lives. I am a huge fan of Cities97 (you can listen on iHeartRadio as well) and had heard that NeedtoBreathe, one of my son’s favorite bands, would be playing live at a restaurant thanks to Oake on the Water – a radio show that broadcasts live from a venue literally “on the water.” The huz and I had decided not to tell the kids, change our route to Aberdeen, take the long way there via the venue, and make a stop to see NeedtoBreathe. I was so excited to see my son’s face when he found out what we were doing!
In true teenager fashion, my son – though pretty excited – showed very little enthusiasm. This part of the teen affect is very difficult for me. I need feedback on things! If the boy is excited, he should look excited. “It’s cool,” said in the teenage boy voice while he nods his head slightly in agreement is not the excitement that he used to show when he was little. While the huz was in seminary, we lived within walking distance of the beach, and we visited the beach often. The kids loved the beach, and they showed it. When they would suddenly see the beach as we rounded the corner to it, they would would clap their hands, exclaim loudly, and cheer. I loved that feedback! I was making them happy! That was not how it went when we stopped to see NeedtoBreathe.
Me: We are going to see NeedtoBreathe! Isn’t that awesome?
Son: Yeah. It’s cool.
Me: It’s cool? What about, “Wow – that is AWESOME!!!”
Son: Mom – it’s cool.
Because it was a restaurant, we sat down at a table. They were great seats. We had a clear view of the band, and we did not have to stand. And I wanted everyone else to recognize that they were great seats too. So I asked, “Aren’t these great seats?” My question was met with somewhat of a less than enthusiastic response. It turns out that I was asking during a song being sung. Oops! So I waited and asked again.
Me: Aren’t these great seats?
Son: Yes, mom. They are great seats. Can we please just listen?!?!?!
This has now become the way that my entire family mocks and affirms me. I was so excited to see Les Miserables on Thursday afternoon, and they were all pretty content to mock and affirm me several times on the way to the production, at the production, and on the way home from the production. We laugh about it, but I know deep down that they are expressing gratitude. If they say, “Wow, mom, these are great seats,” I know what they mean is, “Thanks so much for going to get these tickets and for caring about us.” Even if that is not what they mean, that is what I am going to think they mean.
Amazing how being nice to them can become all about me, huh?