If These Walls Could Talk
I have always been a sucker for mindless television. I look forward to my “me time,” watching reality television, especially those centered on housewives, after the kids go to bed. I think it makes me feel grateful that my life seems a little less complicated and a lot more joyful than those I see on the screen. As my kids are getting older, though, we are looking for more family-friendly shows we can all enjoy. America’s Funniest Home Videos has been a huge hit and we have also been dipping our toes into Family Feud. I loved Family Feud as a young adult, and I actually think I am a fairly decent couch contestant. A few weeks ago, I was watching the show, and it made me think: Who would be on my Family Feud team? To be eligible, their official website says you must have five family members related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption, all over the age of fifteen. I mentally thumbed through our Rolodex of family, and in no particular order, this would be my team…
The first player would be my dad.
He is by far the wisest person I know. His profession as a family physician automatically puts him in a top-tier category of all kinds of knowledge, but one of my favorite things about him is his communication style. As we say in my family, Daddy can “dumb it down,” which means he can explain something in a way that meets us on our level. He does it without intimidating terminology, judgement, or reason for angst. I remember watching him sitting in the kitchen, drawing a chart to explain to my Aunt Mommy, my mom’s identical twin sister, what the possibilities of her breast cancer diagnosis could mean moving forward. In such a time of fear with a heavy diagnosis, Daddy made her comfortable with what was ahead. He was also the first person I called after we found out I was having twins. In the doctor’s office parking lot I sobbed, “Daddy, I’m having twins and I’m so scared!” He let me ramble through tears about my worries and irrational thoughts before he, almost giggling, said, “Baby, there is not one bad thing about this.” And he was right. He was in the sixth grade when he started dating my mom, and they have been together ever since. To me, my parents are the definition of true love and a committed marriage. That isn’t to say they’ve been without hard seasons but walking through those times without the other was never an option. He never tries to stop my mom from one of her crazy, yet “practical,” ideas like spray-painting the dead shrubs green or walking the dog with jumper cables instead of a leash. Like he says, “There’s more than one way to be right.” I’ll save more on Momma for another time, but my parents bring out the best in each other and their story is one for the books. On this Family Feud team, some of Daddy’s strengths would be golf, woodworking, and old movies.
Next up is my sister-in-law.
We’ll call her Sister Girl. Sister Girl is originally from Connecticut, and her family has deep Italian bones… like, she has an Uncle Frankie and her Ma’s red sauce is amazing. Sister Girl is married to my older brother. She is a television production manager and is a new mom to the most precious baby in the world. She is an answered prayer full of the spunk and fun and love our family never knew we were missing! And she is strong, y’all. She went through her entire first pregnancy during a global pandemic while living in California and gave birth to the most perfect new addition to our crew. Sister Girl has her work cut out for her if that sweet boy falls in line behind his daddy. Growing up, my brother often found himself in some sort of comical situation. I remember my mom asking my brother and his friend to cut some limbs down from a tree just off our driveway. Hours later, my mom and I came home to find them sitting in the tree without a way to get down because they had cut away all the lower limbs. On another occasion, his effort to clean and hide the muddy carpet mess made by his hunting boots, was exposed after realizing he had bleached dark green carpet. Initially he was in trouble, but I’ll never forget my mom saying, “One of these days I’ll miss those spots.” I didn’t really understand it then, but now that I’m a mom, I get it. My brother is kind, incredibly creative and loyal, and Sister Girl is the best compliment to him. In Family Feud, some of her strengths would be Disney movies and soundtracks, soccer, Italian food, and her sense of adventure.
The third player would be my other sister-in-law, and we’ll call her Sister Friend.
Sister Friend is my husband’s older sister, and she has basically been surrounded by boys her entire life as she is the only girl among three brothers. She lives with her husband and two teenage sons. I realize I am a newer mom of two boys, but Sister Friend automatically deserves a medal for that! Sister Friend is an administrator of a local hospital and is one of the most thoughtful people I know. She remembers everything and never fails to send a quick, “I hope your appointment goes well today” or “How did your meeting go yesterday?” text. She truly listens and makes someone’s mundane seem important. Just the other day I couldn’t remember how much my daughter weighed at birth, but Sister Friend knew. When my husband was a toddler, he and Sister Friend were at their grandparents’ house and he was standing on the ground coloring on a piece of paper that was in the seat of a light blue velour chair. Before his grandmother knew it, my husband had thrown the piece of paper on the floor and colored all over the chair with dark crayons. Their grandmother called the local cleaners to get a solution, cleaned the chair, and had it back in the house before anyone knew it. The only give-away would have been Sister Friend’s uncontrollable tears, as she was so afraid my husband would be in trouble. Her protection of him carried on into high school and even college. Sister Friend always made sure he knew where he was going and that he had everything he needed. She is a quiet backbone for our family and loves my children as if they are her own. In Family Feud, her strengths would be southern traditions, reality television, and Texas A&M sports.
My husband would be the fourth player on my team.
My husband and I dated for three years before we married twelve years ago, and his realm of knowledge continues to amaze me. I’m convinced there aren’t many areas about which he doesn’t know something. He was a golf professional when we met and has now made a reputable name for himself in commercial development, but his ability to approach any situation with the simplest of solutions often wins. His dad taught him a phrase he uses often: “You’ve got to be 10% smarter than what you’re working with.” One thing I love about him is his honesty, whether it’s the easy thing to hear or not. As a newly dating couple, he encouraged his passive aggressive, “nothing-is-wrong-when-really-I’m-upset-and-I-want-you-to-guess” girlfriend to be a healthy “this hurt my feelings” communicator. My husband, like my dad, can be a voice of reason and isn’t afraid to say, “that is a bad idea, Liz.” Usually, he’s right. He loves his momma, and any girl should know the treasure it is to find someone who honors his mother and father. My husband also thrives on routine. His watch, billfold, Chapstick, and keys are placed in his catchall in the same order every day. He isn’t crippled by this habit, rather this preference for order has a simple, reasonable explanation: “You never have to wonder where they are.” His clothes are always ironed, he does not frazzle easily, and he is loyal to his people. In Family Feud, some of his strengths would be southern gospel hymns, any sport, and he would be my choice of a partner in the Fast Money questions.
Because this is my imaginary team, I would be the fifth player by default.
After all, I’m a self-proclaimed decent couch contestant, but I don’t bring as much to the table as the rest of my teammates. I could write a book on my entire crazy fun family though because it certainly extends beyond these four. In our crew, aunts and uncles are like second parents, cousins are like siblings, and I would not have it any other way. As we all have our different strengths and personality traits, we all have the same foundation of love, fun, and family-first. We aren’t afraid to laugh at our mistakes, and we always show up for one another. We are quick to say, “I love you,” and fast to fall on our knees in prayer when one of us is hurting. If we were to win Family Feud, we would donate any winnings to those in need because that’s what our southern grandmothers taught us to do. We were encouraged to do our part to bring good to the world to show God’s love to our neighbors. After all, we are already rich in love and family and I can’t think of anything more important than that.