I have a more serious nature, and am married to a man who epitomizes silliness and fun. He can be serious when he needs to be, but that is not his natural tendency. His ability to lighten things up and make me laugh was probably the biggest thing that attracted me to him in the beginning. He was like a breath of fresh air in my world of structure.
One thing I have learned over 18 years of marriage to a silly man is that humor is a key ingredient in a happy life. It brings sunshine into the dreary and difficult days, and makes bright days even brighter.
In my world of dealing with strong-willed children in public, there have been many times when I have wanted to either crawl in a hole and hide, or simply start throwing a tantrum of my own. I like things to be proper, especially in the world of my children’s behavior. However, sometimes…OK, most of the time…I simply do not get proper, no matter how much I want it.
On one occasion, we were at a school board meeting with our four young children. One of the kids was receiving an award, so we were sitting on the second row in a room that was packed to the gills. I looked down at my daughter, then three years old, who was sitting next to me, only to see her finger up her nose. Remember how I like things to be proper? Well, I quietly asked her to stop picking her nose. She, annoyed at the interruption, loudly protested: “BUT I HAVE TO PICK MY BOOGAR!”
Mortified, I tried to quiet her, but that only made her say it several more times with increasing volume. Needless to say, we made our presence known. Funny, right? I didn’t think so at the time, but it is now a family legend that makes us laugh again and again.
Another funny incident happened two days before Christmas one year. I was running a few last-minute errands with three young children in tow, and a planned 30-minute trip turned in to a two and a half hour adventure because of an unforeseen detour. By the time we got to the grocery store to get a few items for Christmas dinner, which was our last stop, the kids were done with good behavior. Here is an excerpt from my journal from that day (with names removed to protect the not so innocent):
At this store, the carts have little cars attached to the front where the kids can ride while you shop. Two of the kids thought that was great fun – for about 10 minutes. One of them then repeatedly tried to climb out. He wanted to sit where the other child was sitting, which only caused screams of protest. By the time I got to the register, one child was screaming uncontrollably because he wanted to sit in the other child’s seat. I was trying to hold him and take care of the groceries at the same time. Of course, everybody in the crowded store was watching this little exchange.
After what seemed like forever, I finally got everything paid for and we left the store. As soon as we got outside, the child who had been screaming decided it was OK to get back in that little car. I was able to push everybody out to the van in peace, but then the child who had finally calmed down decided that he wanted to stay in the cart, and began to throw a huge fit as I took him out and tried to buckle him into his car seat.
At that moment, another child announced that he had to go potty. We were only five minutes from home, and there was absolutely no way that I was going back inside the store to use the bathroom, so I told him to wait until we got home. He insisted that he had to go right then, but I wasn’t paying much attention because I was having a wrestling match with the screamer while attempting to get him buckled, which was not going well. By the time I finished with that, I turned around to see the boy who had to go to the bathroom doing just that – with his coat off and pants around his ankles in the middle of the parking lot.
I couldn’t help but laugh. In fact, I laughed the whole way home.
Life, especially life with kids, is unpredictable and sometimes stressful. But kids (and life) are hilarious! I am learning that stepping back from a stressful moment to look at the big picture is often all that it takes to allow me to see the humor in it. Imperfect, embarrassing, mortifying moments are often the foundation of hilarious stories that are retold for years.
I love this counsel from a woman whom I adore:
Even if you are a more serious person like I am, I invite you to find something to laugh about today. It is good medicine, I tell you. 🙂
This post is part of a 31-day series about small and simple things. You can see the rest of the series here.