When I Told Jay

My family’s never really been good with sharing our feelings. I’m not sure if we’ve made it tantamount to weakness or if we’re simply uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. Either way, there was a lot of “unspokeness” in my household.

That’s a very good thing sometimes: we never really had that ridiculous birds having sex with bees talk; my brother and I never got into a fist fight; my parents never yelled at each other. It could also be very bad: we never hugged or kissed; we never said “I love you;” we never went out of our way to support each other. It’s a hereditary trait I’m determined to break when it comes to my wife and kids. It is still all-too-common, however, when it comes to me and my brother.

It might stem from a long line of bad news. Whenever we’re approached with bad news (dad’s got cancer, aunt had a stroke, brother got kicked out, etc.) our standard response has always been “OK.” As in, “Ok. I understand what you are saying and will process the information. I will not forget this. I will do what I can to help out.” It’s the most emotion we can muster.

We both happened to be at my mom’s house over the same weekend. It was the last nice night of the fall – that two-week period in Michigan between being 70 degrees and 7 degrees – and we decided to have a Jones Family Bon-Fire. This means four of us sat around a fire and thought about drinking.

As my brother was thinking about the various micro-brews he makes, I said, “The Wife’s pregnant.”

He replied with, “I figured, since you said ‘the kids’ earlier.” Don’t be offended; this is typical. I do the same thing (and it sometimes damages my relationships). The correct response is “congratulations,” not, “Yeah. I know. You look chunky.” It’s just the way we work.

I then said, “And there’s a good chance I will have to have heart surgery by the time the year is out.”

He stared and said, “Ok.”

My family’s never really been good with sharing our feelings. One of the better aspects of that is “Ok” is all I wanted to hear.


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