Life can feel so heavy at times and so quickly I get weighed down by the heartaches of humanity and the struggles of daily living. And then enters the task or joy of parenting. Suddenly I’m a teenager again with emotions I don’t understand and a body I don’t recognize. Seriously…no seriously! I won’t spell it out for you, it’s just not necessary. But I can go from elation to complete sorrow and then back again to on the floor, crying laughter, all within a matter of minutes based on my interactions with my 4 little lovelies. Being a parent…it’s quite a wild thing!
As the “adult” I really do try my hardest to be a level headed, calm, loving and consistent parent. That’s what adults are, right?? Geez, it’s not easy! On some days my family looks completely sane (me included), loving and considerate of one another. I’m so extra proud of all of us on those days. Then some sort of an invisible body snatcher event takes place and everyone wakes up mean and growly. The kids bark at each other about how much space they require on the sofa and argue over the morning cartoon. Then suddenly I’m in the funk right along with them and trying to dig us all out of the rotten mood. Some moments I just have to laugh it off. Cause what else can I do…within reason?
I love it when my kids say ridiculously hysterical things completely unbeknownst to them! My daughter Sofia is possibly our family’s biggest culprit. She’s “spicy”, as we call her. She’s passionate and extreme. One minute she’s pouting and angry and the next she’s hugging and kissing me, declaring her endless love and devotion. She goes from the depths to the rooftops in mere seconds. She’s amazing and filled to the top with all of her emotions without reservation. I really admire that about her!
So…about Sofia and her unintentional humor: On one particular morning this last week, I woke up and decided it was the perfect morning for blueberry muffins. I got to baking and of course we ended up with extra. The very next morning Sofia enters the kitchen ready for breakfast and confidently asks, “Mom, can I please have a muff?” I should probably mention that I was sort of prepped for this possibility (well, not this exact possibility), but she’d started a new thing a week or so earlier of shortening her words down to a sort of nick-name. So “muff” of course was her cute little name for a blueberry muffin. I had such great giggle over it followed by a much needed clarification over the term “muff” and why it isn’t really the best choice of words to describe a muffin.
I have a confession to make… I’ve really had to learn to let myself laugh with my kids. I’m still learning. For many years, I unintentionally withheld pieces of my heart, feeling stuck in the role of boundary setter and enforcer. It felt like a constant, never ending task that stomped out my happiness. I struggled to simply enjoy my kids. Choosing to laugh with my kids is bringing joy to our relationship.
Laughter is so powerful, but it isn’t what holds me; it doesn’t carry me past my parenting fails. Laughter can only take me into my next moment where there’s a possibility that I’ll fail again. It’s God who brings me peace when nothing around me is peaceful. He brings me peace when nothing inside of me is peaceful. But laughter is opening me to love my kids in a way I wasn’t able to before.
Writer and fellow traveler on the road of life.