Life’s Better with a Little Levity

It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.

—Wayne Dyer

Yesterday, we began the long drive home after a week of visiting family. I remember in the days before we had children, that 6+ hours on the road was a nice break between venues—a chance to sit and do a whole lotta nothin’ as the miles ticked by on the odometer.

Once kids entered the picture, the leisurely road trips my husband and I use to take for granted were no more. Suddenly, it became about seeing how far we could get without a bathroom break, a stop for food or the inevitable meltdown of one or both children.

This time around we fared pretty well for the first leg of the trip home. The kids were either napping or engaged with something. It was after we stopped at the midway point for an early dinner that things fell apart…and fell apart quickly.

The next three hours rolled out like molasses, and the worse the kids got, the more militant we got about reigning them in. By the time we got home, my husband and I were wound tight as clocks and even though everyone was glad to be back, we had a hard time shaking off the tension of the road.

When bedtime came, the kids were sputtering around as they normally do—flailing their last bits of energy before surrendering to the night. My entire focus was on getting through the bedtime drill, so I could get a moment of peace before retiring myself.

As usual, my son was having none of it, and decided he not only wanted to drink a glass of water right after I shut off the lights, but then proceeded to spill half of it down his pajamas. I did my best to hold it together while I changed his clothes for the second time and we finally got down to the finale of our routine, the singing of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

I was about two verses into it when my son decided that for some reason my singing was the funniest thing he’d ever heard. So, he began to chuckle…and chuckle…and before I knew it he was yucking it up with his sister right in tow. The first time I asked him to stop, he was able to restrain himself for about ten seconds…and then was right back to it.

After my third foiled attempt to make the hee-hawing stop, I realized the person who really needed to cease and desist was mommy-bad-cop. So, I surrendered to the ridiculousness of the moment and my feeble attempts to control it. I laughed my butt off right along side them. And you know what? It was exactly what everyone needed. We were able to relax and put the day away with a nice little bow on top.

Thanks to my children—who were sound asleep within five minutes of the conclusion of the laughfest—the day did not end under the oppressive weight of me trying to control things. Instead, it ended light, joyful and full of laughter. A sweet reminder of the power of levity to transform moments of situational intensity.


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