Family vacations are stressful. Why is that? Maybe because you plan weeks or months in advance and there are expectations that everyone will be cheerful and have fun doing extraordinary and often expensive activities. So, the pressure is ON. Have fun OR ELSE! You throw in an aversion for crowds and noise, put me on a cruise ship full of screaming kids and there isn’t anyone or anything that can save me or whoever ends up in my path.
We were standing by the balcony overlooking the main floor of the ship when T.Puzzle accidentally stepped on my foot.
My temper shorted out and I yelled at him to ‘Quit it!’ or ‘Cut it out!’ or ‘For the love of all that is good and decent in the world, STOP STEPPING ON MY FEET!’
To an outside observer it would seem that it was an innocent mistake by a distracted nine year old boy. They wouldn’t know the back story of how this said boy steps on my feet religiously. If he could bottle his accuracy of squashing my toes, this kid would give a trained sniper a run for his money.
The squashed toes were the icing. The pressure of FUN was getting to me. I looked at Mad Dog in despair.
He said, “I know with our family we are going to have highs and lows. While the highs are tremendous, there are days when you are so frustrated that you want to give our children up for adoption (I’m politely paraphrasing this last part). You have to accept the good with the bad.”
This made me pause. He was right, of course, but why am I always so ready to fly off the handle with the people I love the most in the world? I wouldn’t snap at a friend if she stepped on my toes. I would laugh it off and be on my merry way.
The difference is the amount of shared history. When you live life with people day in and day out, your truth seeps out whether you like it or not. You let the ugly flow because on some level you know that these are YOUR PEOPLE. They love you unconditionally.
If you can be your truest self around someone, and that includes all the stuff you hide from 99.9% of the rest of the population, then you know you feel safe with them.
Every one of us is complicated. Most of us strive to be our best.
If we are really lucky, we can be our worst, too…
3 times over.