Tonight when the Wizard of Oz on TBS was followed by the old, animated Grinch Who Stole Christmas, I realized this is THE week that we switch from saying the holiday season is coming, to Hello Holiday Season, how’d you get here so fast? And I shivered with delight.
I’ve got everything in place. A novel in-progress on my laptop, three books I’m trying to read at once. The Friends DVD I’m up to in my quest to watch the whole series straight through for the first time since I completed my collection. A picture of a hair color I like (to show my hairstylist later), and that’s not even the whole nest. There’s so much more. It just moves around the house with me, and I dream of it while I’m at work.
I’ve been thinking about a topic lately, planning to blog about it eventually. And this weekend, when I spent so much time with family, it really came to the forefront.
It starts in junior high when I came stomping down the stairs one day before school, scowling about my hair, my clothes, my breakfast, the audacity of the sun to rise again – who knows. And Mom – very gently, as I remember it – said she knew something about me. She knew that when I got to school I would immediately turn into a person who actually appreciates a sunrise. That I would be kind and cheerful and pleasant to everyone there. And she said, then, Shouldn’t your family get the best of you too?
So many things I like about that memory. I’m sure I didn’t take it brilliantly at the time. But I’ve had a good fifteen years (or – uh – MORE) to stew over it, and now it’s all deep inside there pumping through me like my heart pumps blood, and it’s one of the most memorable pieces of advice I’ve ever been given.
I love the idea of this, not that we would put the same cheerful face on for our families that we put on for the people we want to impress. But that we would so consider our effect on the world around us that we would actually become more kind, more thoughtful, and more positive even in our own living rooms.
Plus, don’t you love the idea that a person you admire only gets more admirable the closer you get to them? Doesn’t it seem romantic to imagine that husbands and wives get the very best of each other? It’s always said the other way around, “Family is made up of the people who see you at your worst but love you anyway.” Don’t you want to change that? Yeah, they’re going to see our worst. It’s inevitable. But don’t you know they’re also going to be there when we finally get the timing on that punchline just right, when we are moved by that touching scene in a movie or commercial, when we worry over somebody else’s pain, when we push through trouble, financial struggles, or sorrow, and stay nice anyway?
I think that’s why family actually loves us. Because they’re there for the good parts. And, hopefully, we’re trying to be more of that and less of the other, all the time.