The Ability to Laugh Again
The ability to laugh again brings me joy. I tell you all what. I was having a moment tonight because of sheer confusion over the difference between an abstract and an introduction paragraph. So, I had Bart come upstairs to share my confusion and angst. He sweetly sat and rubbed my feet, repeating, “No, we are not getting another cat. We aren’t going to name it Suzanne or Kathy. No, I won’t write this for you because I don’t know how. Honestly, I do not see a flea in your hand.”
At least he rubbed my feet.
As we talked, we giggled about some of our parenting moments. When I say giggling, we were laughing so hard he had to take an Excedrin, and I might have peed a little. One of our children, to say they were guilt free of oversight, shared that they know the “brand” of poop everyone has in the house. This child went further to pick up and sniff a turd in the floor to determine that it was not animal feces but another human in our home. Let me be obvious, it was Lola’s poop (she was our dog). There was no human pooping on my floor.
Another child convinced a sibling to “stand real still” in the yard. As I was coming downstairs, I questioned why said child was standing in the yard. This child never stands still and is never quiet. My other child informed me that this child had been convinced that a bird would eat off their head if it stood real still.
The Pee Saga
One time, we had two boxwood bushes in front of our house. They were located right at the front door and were huge. Over a few months, I noticed they were dying from the top down. It was the weirdest thing. Then, I saw an odor that I couldn’t place. Around that time, we visited a local church. This church, at the time, was one that the pastor would come by to say hi to those that visited. He did…surprising us all. When he came up to the door, and I opened it, shocked to see him, he said, “it smells like pee out here.” We explained it was a tomcat that had sprayed, and we apologized. In the back of my mind, I reasoned that that was what it was because there was no other explanation, yet it didn’t smell like cat pee.
After the pastor left, two children said it was not cat pee. It was their pee. When they let the dogs out, they stood on the porch and peed on top of the bushes. I asked what happened when the cars went by. They said, “we smile and wave as you taught us.” Yes, they did that while peeing on my bushes. I tried to be strong and told them they could not pee in the front yard, and my husband was not happy with them because we had smelled that for months, and those bushes were huge. It was going to take an act of congress to cut them down. Bart made me leave the room because I was doubled over laughing so hard that I cried.
Mystery Voice from the Woods
One child was outside singing by the tree one night. The rest of us (all of us) were in the house playing cards around the table. This child comes flying in, asking who was outside hiding. We stated that we were all inside and didn’t know what was happening and why this child was so disturbed. This child was singing, and someone in the dark screamed, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up now!” This child thought if it wasn’t one of us or that, it could have been God telling this child to stop singing. We still have no idea who was screaming in the dark for this child to stop.
Pool Noodle Mystery
We discovered that poop peels off the wallpaper. Boogers will dry and, when scraped, goes down to the drywall. A child ate all our pool noodles in one year. Ate them. The same child ate the wallpaper off the walls. One child swung on the bar because they wanted to be Tarzan…only to realize that their butt would go through the wall into another child’s room.
Large Family Life
I mean, I could go on and on and on. We laughed and laughed. It has not been easy raising a large family with the needs some family members have and currently have. There has been tremendous trauma throughout the years, but it peaked around the time co-vid hit. We miss them all here. I miss having all my children under one roof for family meals, birthdays, and holidays. Yet, I have not allowed myself to dwell on it. We have forgotten how to laugh, and we let the bad moments overshadow the funny things that have happened over the years.
Yet, We are healing. We are safe. I know we are good parents who are human and make mistakes. We have learned that not all “friends” are friends. Also, we have leaned on each other and gotten stronger. We were not (are not) perfect parents. However, we completely love Jesus, each other, our children, and our grandchildren. We love all of them. Each one of my children is entirely different. There is no one way to parent. Parenting must be tailored to each child. They had a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and Jesus.
Thankful to Laugh
I am thankful for those years of having everyone here. I am grateful for where I am today. No longer will I dwell in the shadow of the pain that happened. My joy will not be stolen. Friends…eventually, the rain stops, and the rainbow emerges. As Jesus says…there may be a pain in the night, but JOY comes in the morning.
Joy is coming back to this household. I can pray for reunification all day long; that is what I want for my family. However, I will not let it steal my joy of living. Today, I challenge you to find your happiness! For now, I will find out how to write this abstract, so I can turn this stupid paper into my professor!