Yesterday, while my daughter thought her two-year-old was having a nice long nap, he’d actually been pulling the stuffing from his down pillow. He’d apparently found a little slit in one corner, had pried the pillow covering open, and had had a wonderful afternoon. “You wouldn’t believe how many feathers there are in just one pillow,” my daughter said.
“So did you laugh?” I asked. What initially came out of her mouth, she let me know, was more of a cry of intense pain. Luckily, her husband was home to share the occasion with. And then just thinking about telling the story to me and others helped her retrieve her sense of humor pretty quickly. I didn’t ask if they took pictures.
It’s a fact that there are some things that happen in life that are easier to laugh at after time has passed. When this same daughter was two she had some creative fun herself during a nap time. I remember walking into her room to find she had finger-painted her white crib with the brown “paint” she found in her diaper. No, I can’t say I laughed happily. There was no Oh, ha ha ha, how funny! Nor did I have any desire whatsoever to take pictures. The only thing that saved me was knowing that I would write about this episode in my journal. Just recognizing that this was one of those experiences that someday in the future would seem very funny, seemed to help.
When it comes to embarrassing moments or stupid things we do, we’re often way too mortified at the moment they are occurring to see any humor. When I was a teenager and completely forgot my lines in a church play, I cried to my mother that night that I had entirely ruined that play. And well, I had. Those lines were the crux of the plot and the point of the whole thing. To this day I can recite those lines. To this day, I remember every word. But at the moment they were supposed to come out of my mouth, they had completely vanished from my brain. Believe me, it didn’t seem funny in the least as I stood there sputtering in the middle of the stage with what seemed like twenty thousand eyes on me. In fact, it didn’t seem funny for quite a while. But I survived and have lived to tell that story more than a few times. It’s even part of my repertoire now.
My husband and kids are able to laugh now about the time the engine of our old VW van burned up on the way to California; the basement floods we seemed to get every Christmas Eve; and the mouse invasion in the storage room. I could probably think of many many more incidents that we laugh at today that didn’t seem even the least bit funny at the time, but I’m sure you have plenty of your own. I’m glad my daughter is learning to laugh a little sooner than later at things that happen in her life. I’m finally becoming better at that myself. My attitude now is becoming, Hey, I’m pretty sure this will be funny one of these days, so I might as well get a head start.