I’ve been re-reading some of my favourite books. For the past month I’ve been immersed in the wit and wisdom of Robert Fulghum.
In one of his stories he describes how his family settled on a way to discuss the normal daily shortcomings and idiosyncrasies of family members – in a playful, respectful way.
In my Seattle household there are seven of us: five core family, a housekeeper, and a large stuffed moose …
One morning when I was raging around the kitchen over who drank the last of the milk again and didn’t go to the store for more again, in walked Myrna with the moose. “John (the moose) did it, ” she said, ‘and he’s so very sorry.’ The moose did look guilty. We laughed. John took his chastisement gracefully. Milk crisis forgotten.
– Robert Fulghum in the essay ‘My Fault’
Well, we just happen to have a resident stuffed moose too (we named him ‘Bruce’). With only two humans in our household, shall we say we are experiencing a certain degree of ‘testiness’ caused by 13 months of a lot of two-some-ness. The idea that all of our fumblings, mumblings, faults and foibles were actually the work of Bruce the Moose seemed like a brilliant idea.
Everybody knows they could do better, but nobody feels bad getting reminded in a secondary loony way.
– Robert Fulghum –
It has worked very well. ‘Bruce’ is silently stoic, but you can sense he is building a database of good things to remember, such as: buy crunchy peanut butter – not smooth – always, not almost always; if you add a lot of beans to the family diet don’t comment on the ‘noisy response’ a few hours later; don’t stack three slippery, loosely covered containers on the top shelf of the fridge.
Have you and your family developed some new coping mechanisms in the past year?