I've tried everything. I've tried the Bible, the Power of Now and the Gypsy who sets up her card table down at the farmer's market every Saturday morning. I've tried putting myself at the far end of the table, in the kitchen with the dishes, in the backyard with the dog but nothing's worked. So, in order to protect the innocent, albeit a little late, I've taken drastic measures. I've told my adult children that for their own good - for their own, beautiful, hopeful, optimistic good, they are not to call me. No contact I said, until I can find a way to finally wrangle this malady to the mat. This malady my husband calls Opinionitis, or in laymen's terms; the inability to button it - even if it's negative. Ever.
I was infected early. At our house, speaking up, out and loud was not only expected, it was encouraged. Confrontation was embraced. Got a new haircut and suspect that the guy took off a little too much? Come to dinner and find out! Got a new boyfriend and think you might want to marry him? Uh, think again.
Leaving the table was not allowed. Leaving the table crying was really not allowed, unless you were the guest. If someone disagreed with you, you were expected to sharpen your argument with your bread knife and hurl it back into the arena until it stuck. One guy I was dating was so horrified after one particularly heated "discussion" over the Vietnam War, that I dropped him simply for being so horrified. What he didn't understand, coming from his polite environment where you offered up the mashed potatoes and little else, was that despite our rough and tumble way, ours was a house where you could always speak your truth and never be shunned. Attacked maybe, but never shunned. And fifty years later the same is true. If you want to know the answer to something - I mean, really know the answer, it's only a phone call away.
But alas, not everyone's roots are mine. My husband hails from a peace loving family where commenting, especially negative commenting is nonexistent. Question. Where's the fun in that?
The drag is, my children have chosen to follow his path - the peaceful path, which is fine, but leaves me odd chick out. They are not equipped, or for that matter interested in slugging through an issue just for argument's sake. They don't want to stand there and take twenty questions to the chest regarding a particular life decision. And I'm clearly incapable of holding my tongue - so if you want me, as Joni would say, I'll be in the bar.
I don't know how long I'll be able to hold out but when I ask my husband about the kids he knows to say just one word -fine. Did the job come through? I can't tell you that he says. Is she still dating Richard? Not at liberty he says. And he's right not to tell me. Or is he? Now I'm not sure.
I better phone my sister and find out.
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