Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 4, 2011 ~ Day 26
Laughter Beats Bitterness

This will be short and sweet.

The deeper meaning in today’s blog is to find humor in life’s little jokes where YOU turn out to be the punchline.

I spent my entire night writing an article for this column about the difficulties my husband and I are facing as we try to navigate the new parenting territory of how to be proud of one child’s success without making the other children feel left out or bad about themselves.

The column wasn’t Pulitzer Prize winning stuff, but I did put my heart into it. I write all of these blogs with my kids in mind. My goal is that some day they will have 365 essays from their mother on the meaning of life, so if ever they feel lost or wish they could turn to me and say, “What should I do?” they can find the core of my beliefs with a few simple keystrokes.

Then, in one of life’s little ironies, two-thirds of my document was erased literally seconds before Blogger did a routine autosave, and hours worth of writing was lost. I was left with nothing on paper, late at night. It felt just like college.

I had two options.

1) Bitterness

2) Laughter

I tried out bitterness but it didn’t work very well. First I cussed, which was technically okay since my kids have been sleeping since eight. Still, that felt wrong so I ended up having to throw a few coins in the ‘clean mouth’ jar. I thought for a moment that I might be able to squeeze out a tear of frustration or two - but nada mucho. Nothing came. I then got angry at the laptop for having a hypersensitive touchpad that takes the slightest caress of a finger as a series of concrete commands. However, being that it is an inanimate plastic object, it seemed to weather my disdain quite easily. I considered throwing the computer, but Christmas just ended and I don’t think Santa’s going to be bringing me a new laptop anytime soon.

In the end, laughter was the better option.

There is actually something pathetically funny about a 35 year old stay-at-home mom cussing out her computer for losing some melodramatic blog about parenting. Who cares! It’s not like my article was going to bring about world peace, or even create peace between the children in my own home. I think this could be God’s way of saying, “Take it all more lightly”.

My column wasn’t great anyway! It didn’t flow easily. I had to re-read it over and over to make certain it was even making sense.

I’m sure sometime soon I’ll hit my stride with a different topic, or even that same topic reworked to be brighter, wittier, more sparkling. (It did have one fantastic line from “The Breakfast Club”. I hope I’ll find an authentic way to work that one in again soon. I *heart* John Hughes.)

In the end, this kind of thing happens. It happens to everyone. Even though it sometimes feels like I have a monopoly on inadvertent self-sabotage (aka doing dumb s&^t) it’s actually a fundamental part of being human. We all find ourselves in ridiculous situations that we’ve somehow walked into without recognizing the absurdity; we’ve all screwed up, and in the end it isn’t usually a big deal.

So if you're reading this someday, Bug-Bean-Bee, the main thing then is simply to accept the ramifications of whatever you’ve accidentally done (or not done). Take responsibility and try to learn from the experience. Forgive yourself. Then, move on.

Ice cream is also very useful.

I’m sorry that I don’t have an articulate or interesting treatise on parenthood to present on this fourth day of January, 2011. That said, I think the meaning from this annoying experience is more important than anything I actually wrote about earlier tonight.

It is human (even oddly lovable!) to mess up and the best thing you can do is laugh at yourself and your unexpected star role in the screwball comedy we call life.

With a smile on my face, then, I bid you good night. I’m already glad I didn’t end up hurling this laptop at the wall.

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