Last night, Ben and I took the little kids to see Jonah’s 6th grade chorus concert at Kennedy Middle School. I, for the record, LOVE things like chorus concerts. Dead serious. Especially middle school ones because there is no age that is more awkward and/or uncomfortable than the middle school age range.
I just love how it’s that period of your life when you don’t know what to do with your hands, you feel like you look worse smiling than you do having absolutely zero expression on your face, and about 80% of the people you associate with on a regular basis have braces and acne.
It’s just all so awesome to me. I love looking at all of them. And, when they’re all mashed on a stage together singing what sounds like Scandanavian music…whatever that means…I am mesmerized by the whole thing.
So, while we’re in between songs, I turned quick to Ben and told him how excited I was that I had already posted so we could go to bed as soon as the kids were down. Ben’s face and entire body immediately deflated and he told me that he still had 3 hours of work to do once the kids went to bed. On top of that, he was lined up to teach the 5:30 AM class the next morning, so he was planning on setting his alarm clock for 4:25 AM.
This is the point in a conversation when you have two options. Option number one: you can let your eyes roll back in your head and blurt out, “THANK GOD I’m done with my work. UGH, and I get to sleep in for another 2 hours after you get up! Man, that’s going to suck for you!” Option number 2: contain your feelings of how lucky you feel like you are because you are free from work for the night and instead figure out how you can help with a, “Well, why don’t I do bedtime with both kids tonight so you can get a head start on your work?”
While it doesn’t exactly save the poor guy from his entire 3 hours of work, it at least helps and makes his night seem a little more manageable. You know what it’s like when you’re heading into a night like that; every little bit of help makes a huge difference.
So, I was able to still go to bed and turn the lights off at 9:30 PM. I was in such a deep sleep by the time Ben got to bed that I didn’t even hear him climb in. I also vaguely remember him starting the shower at 4:20 AM while I, literally, laid in bed thinking to myself, “THANK GOD I get to sleep for another 2 hours!” And, when I finally did wake up, I actually felt groggy because I had gotten so much sleep.
Now, mind you, we’ve gone a good week or so with getting woken up many times by Bode who’s in the first week of using a “big boy” bed. So, we’ve both been desperate for the amazing night of sleep that I got last night…and, the night Ben is even more desperate for today than he has been all week.
When I walked into the gym today feeling like a young 20 year old compared the dying 80 year old that I felt like yesterday at the same time, I was so tempted to run up to Ben and tell him all about how rejuvenated and well-rested I felt after my epic night of sleep.
I know the sound of that seems ridiculous…you know, unintentionally rubbing it into someone’s face about how great you feel…but, it happens more often than I think most of us realize.
It’s not just that, though. It’s the one-upping that is closely related to that whole concept: the temptation to hear about someone else’s situation and the hard-to-control desire to want to tell them how your situation is more extreme on some level.
I can’t tell you how many times Ben and I have woken up and said, “How’d you sleep?” And, the other person says, “I actually had this really bad dream…” Immediately, the other person dives in with, “OH YEAH! I HAD THE WORST DREAM! I was in this car…” and, they reel off with their own story, completely deserting the other person in the dust and forcing them to sit there patiently letting the conversation unfold without them even really being a part of it.
For the record, I’m not trying to imply that Ben’s the one that does that. We both do it, and we are both collectively working at getting better at not doing it.
The point is, while it’s great that we’re so excited about our own stories and our own experiences, I think it’s important to sometimes keep them to ourselves in an effort to let someone else share their own with us.
I hate to admit it, but I think that’s really hard sometimes. But, I always walk away feeling better when I was able to suppress the sudden rush of wanting to blab on about myself and take the time to listen to someone else’s story.
There’s always another opportunity to tell your story. And, it’s usually a much “better” opportunity than any that we force or rush into.