Sometimes You’ve Just Gotta Laugh (or else you might cry – a lot)
I think every mom feels this way at least once a day, or once an hour, once a minute, maybe? Depends on the day, I guess.
I just experienced one of these moments, which made me reflect on other laugh-till-I-almost-cried moments, and while there are many, I want to share three. I’ll start with the one that just happened about 3 minutes ago. I will type through the (laugh) tears.
So, my youngest son, E, has finally outgrown his crib and graduated to a “big boy bed,” which we’ve had sitting in a box for the past two months. That’s how long it has taken to clear a chunk of weekend-time to focus on something less essential than fixing the garbage disposal or hitting up Costco for our weekly food supply.
So we carved out this time, dragged the boxes in, and got to work. Since we have two boys, we decided on bunk beds that we would assemble and use as two twins until E is old enough to understand the risks of taking test flights off the top bunk.
I was in the laundry room, right across from the boys’ room, when I heard my proud Hubby, who had just spent hours working on the beds, start to plop down on his masterpiece while saying, “There, it’s done…now you have a nice, solid bed that daddy can sit on, too…” CRACK! The most unmistakable sound of cracking wood mocked his words as one of the rails split completely in half before he could finish his sentence. He sat there, looked down, and muttered, “Seriously?”
I lost it. In hindsight, I could have been a little more considerate, but keeping straight faces in moments of humor (and frustration - you know, calling the company, telling them the story, asking to send a new wooden beam, forever worrying about the quality of the bunk beds we ordered) is not my specialty. It never has been. Hubby once smashed his face on our half-open garage door and I laughed hysterically before even making sure he was okay. I’m never going to live that one down (and yes, he was okay!).
So, rather than focus on the frustration of all the work it would take to fix the bed that just broke and all the work it had already taken to build it, my laughter was contagious and Hubby started laughing, too.
He wasn’t as quick to laugh one evening about 7 years ago, long before children were in the picture, during a night of frustration that ended with belly laughs rather than (probably-more-appropriate) tears.
This brings me to story two.
It had been one of those evenings where absolutely nothing went right for Hubby. He had had a rough day at work, came home, and the night continued with nothing going right. At all. It started with dinner. I had made spaghetti and meatballs, and he piled a huge heap of noodles, meat, and bright red sauce on his plate. I sat on the couch with my plate of spaghetti neatly balanced on my lap while searching through our DVR recordings to find the current episode of whatever show we were watching at the time (aaahhhhh, the pre-kiddo days of having time to watch TV and the luxury of eating dinner on the couch).
So he sat down right next to me, miscalculating the distance between us (a common mishap of days-gone-wrong), and sat on the very edge of my plate, knocking it completely over, leaving the pile of spaghetti on our laps, which were (thankfully!) touching. We sat there in silence and looked at each other. Did that just happen? Yep, it did. (Did I mention our couch was white)?
So, we decided to stand up together, VERY slowly, legs pressed firmly together, and let the pile on our laps spill onto the tile floor below. White couch saved. As soon as we got the mess cleaned up, Hubby was in need of a glass of wine. He poured himself a giant glass of red and sat back onto the couch, while I decided to sit on the chair opposite the couch, just in case. I looked over at him. His face was very serious, very frustrated. He sat down, noticed a tiny water spot on his glass, and decided to carefully rub it off with two fingers.
After a split-second-high-pitch-squeaky-clean-rubbing-sound, the next was the sound of a…pop! Like magic, the wine glass (poof!) somehow shattered into a million pieces and fell into Hubby’s lap – along with the red wine, of course. He sat there, dazed and confused, with the wine glass stem still placed perfectly in his hand, and a lap-full (and couch full) of red wine and broken glass. We had a ruined couch, one less wine glass, a giant mess to clean up, and in that moment, a moment where we both could have cried, we laughed. We laughed so hard I can’t tell you how long the laughter lasted. We had belly laughs coming from as deep as our toes. We still laugh to this day about it.
One last, promised story.
In 2011, Hubby, A (who was about 18 months old at the time), and I were moving from Phoenix to San Diego. We had spent weeks and weeks preparing for the big day of driving across the desert, and when the day came, everything went wrong. A was very, very sick with a terrible cold that had drifted to his lungs and required him to be on a nebulizer every few hours.
The moving truck was literally pulling out of our driveway when our son’s doctor’s office called us with a very direct order – “you can’t move yet. You can’t leave Phoenix. With A’s condition, it’s just too risky.”
On top of worrying about his health, now we were worried about where we would stay that night since our house was completely empty. Where would we eat? How long we would have to stay? When was our son going to get better?
We watched our stuff pull out of the driveway, and off to a hotel we went. We spent all night, every three hours, turning on a terribly loud machine and holding it to our little boy’s nose as he slept soundly and peacefully.
So, we were tired the next day and very, very irritable. We just had a lot on our plate, and getting out of town (after the doctor checked him out and gave us the green light) was a challenge. After checking out of the hotel, keeping a worried eye out for our son as we drove, battling sleep deprivation and bad cases of the grumps, we left Phoenix.
And we were hungry. Before getting all the way out of the city, we drove through somewhere to grab lunch and hit the road. Our fish was in a tiny plastic container in the cup holder, the only living plant we had left was on the dashboard (it was small), we couldn’t see out of any of the truck’s windows (all those almost-left-and completely unanticipated items shoved into every inch of space), and our moods had not improved. Hubby and I had been at each other’s throats all morning. We had just gotten onto the freeway when we heard A in the backseat screaming in the way a child screams when he or she is very, very hurt.
I was in the passenger seat, and upon hearing the scream, I freaked out, took my full cup of iced-tea and threw it onto my husband yelling “hold this!” while jumping into the back seat to find that my son’s pinky finger was stuck in the straw-hole of a lid I had given to him to play with.
No emergency. False alarm. I easily got his finger unstuck and looked at Hubby, who was drenched in tea and ice and had just finished yelling, “What the….” The tea was literally on his face and dripping down his leg. The ice was piled in his crotch.
And there was no emergency.
I have never laughed louder in my life. He heard my laughter and laughed harder than he had ever laughed in his life. A laughed harder than we had ever heard him laugh. It was the comic relief we all needed on this journey, this next chapter of our lives.
And right then I knew it was true. Sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh.