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Monday, March 30, 2015

Sshhh...It's A Secret

I recently had to keep a secret at the request of one of our children. Being good news, I was overwhelmed at how hard it became not to blurt it out at every encounter with a friend or loved one. Oh heck, to anyone and EVERY one!

Any discussion about it with my husband was short-lived. He hates nattering  so I couldn't dissect and relish over every bit of the news. Within hours, I found myself bursting at the seams. Like being filled with helium and unable to burp, the sensation swelled and grew until I feared for the worst .
That was Day One With a Secret.

I tried imagining telling- to visualize it in my head without actually executing the task. That picture in my head ballooned comic style into my sister saying, "what...and you didn't tell me?" which ended in a short e-mail to her where a little leak kind of snuck out of my fingers in an expletive kind of moment. Blah...blah...Baby... OOPS!! Had I said that out loud? But really, it was my SISTER who has a government job where keeping secrets is mandatory.This secret was safe with her and the relief of having shared such extreme joy diffused the explosion I was sure would come.

Still, within minutes of sharing, the guilt crept up and began to choke me. There was No excuse for betraying that confidence.My head hung: my husband always said I couldn't keep a secret. How embarrassing. Maybe he wouldn't find out about that e-mail? (Funny because wouldn't that be another secret I would have to try to keep?)  Aghast and sorely disappointed in myself, I tightened my resolve NOT to tell anyone else. I could do this even against the odds our kids were probably betting.
That was Day Two With a Secret.

Determined to re-kindle my promise not to tell, I decided it easier to avoid people than it was to try keeping my mouth shut. But,  now being on the ski hill for the next four days made that impossible as you find friends at every turn, every chair lift or t-bar.So I would say things like, "One of these days, probably very soon, I might find out I'm going to be a (cough) Grandma.
Then I got too brave and said to my girlfriend who knew the daughter and the situation "that I can show you something but I can't tell you anything" before presenting the e-mailed photo evidence which bore the name of the recipient in the high left hand corner.
Day Three ended with a firm mental whipping. I am such a lousy secret keeper. I should be put in the middle of the town square and stoned (with rotten fruit, not real rocks)!

Day Four ended with news that I was free to share the joy, although not on FaceBook. (Does a blog count, I wonder? Am I in trouble again?) Ahhh, such relief. Almost like reaching the end of the trip and finally using the washroom. Ahhh.

I share this tale of woe with you because whether you have good news or bad news to share, sometimes it can help to tell just a little bit. Especially if that secret is keeping you awake, stressing you out or having you do extreme things to avoid telling (like avoiding your friends). If the secret is something you absolutely don't want others to know, the only thing you can do is share with complete strangers or NOT tell it in the first place to anyone. Because as sure as there are secrets in the world, there are people who cannot keep them. Like the characters in the Soap Operas. And okay, like me.

Now, if you want my advice on something and need to tell me a private thing, THAT I can and will keep a secret. What's the difference? The difference is knowing what could happen if the story were to get out.

My news was good and wouldn't hurt anyone to know so it was very hard to keep. You want to make everyone else's day as happy as yours. With bad news, you don't want to ruin anyone's day so you want to keep that to yourself . Maybe it's a cancer diagnosis or nasty test result, a death or a horrible situation: the first reaction is often to keep it to ourselves. In the old days, everything was private. Suffering was encouraged to be done quietly behind closed doors. These days, we share and talk about everything. No holds barred. We talk about incest and abuse, we talk about our cancers and our prostates and now there is help and information available. You only have to come out of the closet to get it.
Besides, the relief of sharing news can be enormous and possibly even beneficial. "A grandma? Have you heard about the latest self-help book on becoming the best grandma in the world?" Get the idea?

So, sometimes keeping a secret completely isn't the best thing. Turns out "Grandpa" didn't have much luck keeping it in either. And yes, you're right, that doesn't excuse a thing.But, did you know...I'm going to be a Grandma? Sshhh...