The Journal

Your Kids Could Be Normal

Do you know that scene in the movie Father of the Bride when Steve Martin’s character, Geroge, is talking to his daughter, Annie, about why she and her fiance broke up? Here’s the scene:

Annie: It started out as nothing really. He gave me a present. It’s our eight month anniversary today and he gave me…just look! He said it was for me. For our apartment. Just look.

George: It’s a blender.

Annie: Yeah. Exactly. I mean, I didn’t want to act thrown or anything, but inside I was. I mean, I thought something for the apartment…maybe a new clock, or a cool phone, or a great art book, or something…but a blender? I mean, what is this? 1958? Give the little wife a blender? I mean, it scared me, you know? In terms of his expectations. I started to freak out and he asked me what was wrong and I asked him what a gift like this is supposed to be telling me and he said nothing and I didn’t believe him and we got into this big fight. And he said I was overreacting. And I said why would I overreact? Nobody in my family overreacts!

And then later when George is trying to console the fiance, Bryan:

George: You know, Bryan, Annie’s a very passionate person. And passionate people tend to overreact at time. Annie comes from a long line of major overreactors. Me. I can definitely lose it. My mother. A nut. My grandfather. Stories about him were legendary. The good news, however, is that this overreacting… tends to get proportionately less by generation. So, your kids could be normal.

I’ve always felt like George was talking about me and my family.

We’re all passionate people. We’re a bit nutty. We tend to overreact and take things personally. I have a history of this for sure, and Reid is fully aware of it. It’s something I’m fully aware of, too, and am really taking steps to work on. Nobody likes criticism. Nobody likes to be made to feel inferior or like someone doesn’t care about you.

But honestly, friends, the only person who can make us feel inferior or uncared for is ourselves. Sure, some people out there do really nasty and unkind things, but we are the only ones who control our reactions to those nasty things. And we don’t have to overreact. We don’t even have to react at all. Or even better, it’s always best to react with kindness and love. Kill ’em with kindness, as the saying goes.

Of course…that’s easier said than done. But I know as Reid and I are preparing for marriage, it’s something I need to work on, as it will make our road ahead a heck of a lot smoother and our love stay intact. I’ve heard some great advice recently, and that is to always speak to your significant other like you love them…even when you’re frustrated beyond belief…talk to them like you love them.

And speaking of Reid, look what he sent me for Valentine’s Day! It’s a map of England and Wales from an old atlas dated sometime around the 1880s. (Read about my love of Britain here, here and here and you’ll understand why it’s so perfect for me). He found it in a small used book shop in one of the towns he was in last week and had it sent to me. How crazy romantic and thoughtful is that? I love that man. And thankfully he loves me back, even though I come from a long line of major overreactors.

If Reid and I ever have kids, maybe they will actually be normal 😉

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