Last Friday evening everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, and I had a laughing attack right in the middle of it all. After spending our first five days in our new home, we decided to go have a picnic at the beach for dinner. In case you didn’t know, we moved to the Bay Area last week. So anyway, we drove to Half Moon Bay with our three kids and a small ice chest, planning to have a fun dinner while playing in the sand. As soon as we got there though, we realized we had forgotten a blanket. That, my friends, was the beginning of the end.
My three-week-old baby had to be fed as soon as we got there of course, because as you know, newborns only eat, sleep, and poop for the first few months. During those seemingly short fifteen minutes our fairytale picnic turned into a nightmare picnic. By the time I got the turkey sandwiches out of the ice chest, my daughter had managed to soak her pants all the way to her thighs, my hubby was walking with wet socks and shoes, and my son was screaming at the top of his lungs that he’d rather eat sand than try to wash his hands and end up like his sister.
As if that wasn’t enough, the wind was now blowing with a vengeance, threatening to scatter our things all over the place, and my baby had grown incredibly fussy. We decided to tough it out. I gave my jacket to the drenched six-year-old freezing to death at my feet, while my hubby cleaned her wet and sandy extremities and secured IKEA bag clips to her hair to keep it from blowing around. We then proceeded to eat our food in silence, only opening our mouths to giggle whenever our daughter repeated, yet again, that this was the worst day ever.
The sunset came and went, and though we didn’t really get to see much of it due to the cloud cover, the pink sliver in the distance distracted everyone long enough to enjoy ourselves for about a nanosecond. Soon thereafter the temperature dropped to about sixty degrees and the seagulls began their slow approach in the hopes of snatching any scraps of food. Both of my walking-age kids lost all their interest in everything else and proceeded to freak out about the seagulls that seemed really intent on “getting us.” They stuffed their mouths in one bite with the remaining halves of their sandwiches and announced that it was time to leave. They nearly ran all the way back to the car as their parents hauled camera bags, a baby, a sandy car seat, and a still half-full ice chest all the way up a cliff.
My son’s comment at the end of this adventure couldn’t have summarized the experience any better. He called my name and made sure I was looking at him before uttering, “I don’t want to go to the beach ever again.” I’m still laughing about it. The funniest part about the whole thing was the expression on my kids’ faces when I couldn’t contain the waves of laughter rolling out of my mouth. They didn’t find any of it amusing, but I couldn’t help myself.
This made me realize that I probably should apply that attitude to other aspects of my life. From my writing to my grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. So often we get caught up in the negative parts of our experiences, only focusing on what’s wrong and letting those thoughts damage our enthusiasm for life. When in reality we should simply embrace the negatives just as much as we embrace the positives. In the last month my life has become a rollercoaster of changes, activities, decisions, emotions, and everything insanity related. I’m barely beginning to catch my breath and some days I think I will lose my mind. But in the midst of all the craziness that has surrounded me, the boxes that have taken over my house, the lack of sleep, the fussy baby grunting all through the night, the kids breaking things, and the adjusting to a new house, new school, and new routine, I found something special. I learned that regardless of how overwhelmed I may feel, if I choose to focus on the positives, the negatives have little to no influence. If I choose to laugh at the sucky parts, they don’t quite suck so much.
I love to discover how some of the characters I’ve written about actually exhibit characteristics I myself struggle with. It is strange, but I think in a way I learn from them without even realizing it. Perhaps it is because they all individually embody a part of who I am or who I want to be. Take Thirteen’s sister. I’ve never revealed her name, not yet anyway, and though you don’t know much about her, except for the fact that she died in her attempts to relay an important message to Thirteen, she was one of the most upbeat characters in Markram Battles. Her positive attitude drove Thirteen mad, and in the end, it was her optimism that led her to her death. She knew she’d die, and still she went to battle in the hopes to change the world that ruled everyone’s lives. She never moped about it. Her life sucked, but she wouldn’t let that get to her. She laughed it off more times than she cared to remember, and Thirteen never understood how she could do it so easily. Thirteen’s sister, unlike Thirteen, always focused on the positives, even when there seemed to be none.
Perhaps it would be wise to follow her lead, spend more time and energy focusing on the positive parts of life, and whenever something sucks, just laugh it off.
When was the last time you laughed something off? Share in the comments!