Each year, our president delivers a State of the Union address to keep the American people up-to-date with what’s going on in the nation. The speech covers how the previous year went while also spelling out what the expectations are for the incoming year.
It occurs to me that — obviously — I should be doing this. We should all be doing this. How great would it be to deliver a "State of the Family" address to our spouses and offspring?
Think about it.
You can swap out your sweats for a power suit — aka fancy sweats — and force your family to sit upright in chairs and look at you while applauding after literally every sentence you speak. It’s gonna be awesome, you guys.
The key to a good speech is starting with something that energizes the audience. For example, I’ll probably start with a vague, cheerleader-esque statement about 2019: "Guys, 2019 was an amazing year for our family. You really have a lot to be proud of. GrubHub is en route with dinner, by the way. So sit still and listen.”
There will be lots of grinning at this point — except from the teens, who will think it’s stupid, but they think everything you do is stupid so it doesn’t matter — so bask in your moment. Besides, you look good in those fancy sweats, girl.
Try to make everything sound positive — even when it absolutely is not.
For example (and this is all random, of course): “Our little preschooler outgrew tantrums in 2019; great job, kid! I mean, I can’t think of the last time you bonked your head on the Target checkout floor while melting down, so I’m feeling great about our progress. Hopefully this year you can do the same with the whole crying-over-everything phase you’ve moved on to because I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re sick of asking “Why are you crying?” 20 times a day. I’m hopeful that 2020 will be the year we leave the whole nails-on-a-chalkboard whining thing behind.”
There might be marginally less clapping at this point, but these things are important and must be said.
“And our kid in the middle got his driver’s license in 2019. What an accomplishment! We couldn’t be prouder to have another member of this family contributing to the driving community. Bravo. One of our goals in 2020 is maybe to have you not hit anything with your car. Same goes for your brother, actually. Hitting other cars with our cars is no longer on our family’s agenda. In fact, if we could keep our insurance rates somewhere under a grand every month, that would be stinking amazing.”
They might not be smiling anymore — and they could be muttering, “Heyyyy” under their breath — but they’re listening, so keep going.
“I’m confident we can emerge as the Greatest Family Of All Time if we can just focus on simple goals. Pick up your clothes, clean your dishes and stop leaving the remote in a place where no human can find it without a team of bomb-sniffing dogs. I mean, come on. How does it even get in the kitchen when there isn’t a TV in there? And how is there chocolate ice cream on the “info” button when no one even uses that button?”
Ahem – do not digress. Get to that closing, and finish your address on a sunny note.
“By working together — and not being sloppy little tenants who think your mother is your maid — 2020 can be our best year to date.”
Now, drop the mic, crank on your theme music and exit the room. You’ve earned yourself a bubble bath.
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.