Six days ago, my family and I sat down for a family meeting, and it went terrible, which confused me for a couple reasons.
1) we had nothing negative to talk about
2) we had a great dinner, great conversation, and then bombs exploded and we were punching each other in the face.
Not literally, but (new word alert!) sheshush.
After I yelled, I quit talking. A couple people I know who read this blog know what I'm talking about - passion (and not the good kind) translates into yelling for me, and I don't know why. So in inflammatory situations, it's better I shut my mouth and refrain from raising my voice any lower or louder then it already is.
There was so much discord that night six days ago that our family meeting disbanded abruptly, and we dispersed. Some left. Others posted Facebook statuses and sent messages. I grabbed a chair, a glass of wine, my journal and phone and sat on the porch.
The next night I came home and Mom spontaneously told me to go change into something nice, that we were going out. We went to Chilis where we got into lively conversation and whisper-yelled across the table from each other. We went and got a beer and listened to live music.
The next day we were at Micah's first baseball game of the season cheering him on .... together. The day after that I was racing, everyone was cheering for me, and afterward, we ate at Applebees - we talked, we heard each other, we apologized.
Three days later, tonight, we were seated at the dining room table again - Take Two of the family meeting.
We laughed at Micah's prayer when he mistakenly prayed to "sheshush." I cried tears of embarrassment when I exclaimed "Remember the Alamo" and everyone laughed at me. Daniel later referred to me as Ghandi. We made plans. We talked about promotions and direction and bed bugs. We took turns around the table, starting with Mom, and I acted as chairman of the board when too many people started talking at once.
When it came my turn to talk, I didn't do it gracefully. I stumbled, I rambled, my voice got triple times more raspy, and my sentences weren't complete. But the message I conveyed was this:
We have things to celebrate, and in our pursuance of goals and missions and callings, let's not forget what we have accomplished. We're no longer surviving; we're living, and we're living well.
Last Friday, post-disastrous family meeting, I wrote my family a Facebook message, and here's an excerpt:
"The University of Texas has a new Regents Chief, and in an article in the Austin Statesman, the former UT football player likened the current budget woes to a bad first half that requires coaches and players to regroup. And then attack the second half. We had a bad first half, but the game isn't over. We need to regroup and move forward to the second half....
....The Regents Chief went on to say in his interview, 'We have to remember....we have some challenges, but we should not talk about them in draconian terms. They're simply challenges.' The harder things we need to talk about are our 'simple challenges', and we've proven to ourselves and everyone watching that we are big girls and boys who can take care of ourselves. Together.
So, we get knocked down, we were knocked down, but we rally and get back up again. We need to get back up again, we need to meet at our precious dining room table again...."
That's what we did tonight.
We could've eaten in the living room, but there was something symbolic about the dining room table. I cleared it off, Daniel wiped it clean, and we all gathered to eat pizza and discuss.
Because if there's one thing my family has, it's grit.