Twice a year MOMD and I have the privilege of spending a few days with some of our favorite people in the world. They are family to us even though we are in no way related.
Why do I say this?
They seem to love us despite our ongoing goofiness. Our faults and struggles and disappointments are evident to them because we trust them enough to make ourselves vulnerable to them. We don’t wear masks with them because they would recognize the people behind the masks anyway.
Speaking of trying to fool people by wearing a mask (in the literal sense) I am reminded of my late paternal Grandpa. He was quite a character in many ways as my sister and cousins can verify but we’ll move on to my story.
Grandpa had 2 masks which (in my memory) made at least one appearance every time we spent time with him. One was a scary mask, the other a Santa mask. He would don one or the other, disguise his voice and expect his grandchildren to be duped about his identity. His plan was flawless with a few notable exceptions.
He usually just wore his street clothes (although I think he sometimes wore a Santa costume) with the mask so his body shape and clothing led us to suspect it was him.
He had an easily recognizable tattoo on one of his forearms and usually wore short sleeve shirts.
The watch he wore also was quite distinct.
As previously mentioned the masks made regular appearances, and while perhaps we were not the brightest children on the planet (my sister, 4 cousins and myself), we were able to discern that perhaps we had been subjected to these masks before.
He sounded like Grandpa. Walked like Grandpa. Talked like Grandpa.
Because we knew Grandpa the mask was more a feeble attempt at trickery than anything else. He always seemed disappointed and somewhat surprised that his subterfuge was unsuccessful. I think deep down, however, that he was somewhat happy to know that his grandchildren were not fooled.
Back to our time with the people to whom I referred in the first sentence. When the four of us are together there are a few things that are bound to happen.
Multiple games of Hearts, eating, laughter and hot seat conversations. The first three are pretty self explanatory and mostly enjoyable (unless one is unhappily stuck with the queen).
The hot seat conversations are another thing altogether. They are not always that fun but usually necessary. Seemingly ordinary at first, these conversations become thought provoking and, at times, downright life changing. The four of us will be be sitting around chatting amiably when one of us will pose a question.
Hot seat in the house.
Never is a hot seat conversation mean spirited or unkind. Rather, the intent is to encourage the person sitting in the hot seat to consider an action or attitude or thought pattern that needs to be, well, considered. Often the person in the hot seat makes a positive directional life shift as a result of being in the hot seat.
How grateful I am for friends that are considered family, relationships without masks and our time together.