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Families

Be surprised even after 10 years!


What don’t you know about your friends, your loved ones, your colleagues, the organisation you work for? I ask this because yesterday my husband of 10 years knocked me off my complacent “I know everything about you” perch.

I watched him, with my mouth on the ground, playing tennis. I had no idea he could hit a ball! But there he was, returning almost every ball that came his way. What a beautifal forehand!

I grew up playing tennis, although I’ve barely held a raquet in my hands since. But I can still hit a mean ball, and do so very occasionally on holidays like this when there are other keen tennis players around, and kids now, who want to learn. I love it.

Every day this past week I’d spent some time coaching my kids…then serving the balls back and forth when the kids lost interest. “I can’t wait till the others get here so I can have a decent hit,” I moaned to David. Not once did he offer to join me. Nope, he kept his little ace up his sleeve when our friends arrived and the dads were on the court with two of the kids.

Eventually I joined in, champagne glass in hand (tennis is a hit and giggle as far as I’m concerned). I asked David why he’d never told me he could play. “You didn’t ask,” was his reply. “And I hate it…you’ll never see me playing again.” But he dutifully played until we could no longer see the balls, and I learned that he’d had lessons as a child. Amazing.

Just the night before I’d had a dream in which I’d counselled a young colleague about marriage: “I’ve been married for 10 years to someone who is very different to me, and I’ve just realised now that he’s not going to change.”

Maybe not change. But continue to surprise and delight me, yes, if only I open my eyes and ask the right questions.

It makes me wonder what else I might be missing? You can put your blinkers on when you’ve known someone a long time, or worked somewhere a long time. Sometimes it takes the arrival of others to shake things up and reveal something new to you, either about yourself or about others. You can think you’re a great communicator, but you can overlook asking the right question at the right time, and the moment can pass.

What aces might be up your sleeve that you’re not sharing? Go on, surprise me!

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About Di from the Y

Dianne McDonald is Executive Manager of Communications with YMCA Australia, and a parent of two primary school aged children, one with additional needs (Asperger Syndrome). She has a strong interest in sharing life's learnings with others.

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