I just got home from a trip to CA to be a part of the Heritage Music Festival. My daughter's choir competed in it and it was so wonderful to be a part of. When they sang we all got goosebumps and tears in our eyes. What is it with me and hearing children sing? I could listen all day long. They were fantastic.
The other bonus of the trip were the ladies I was able to be with. We had so much fun together. I love learning from them and picking their brains. But, what I appreciated so much on this trip was the amount of laughter we shared. It was like I was suddenly 14 again and laughed until tears were streaming down my face. So, this post is a tribute to my friend Michelle who is now the person I am paying to accompany me on every trip to ensure I get tighter abs through incessant laughter.
Those of you who know me know I love to laugh, tease, and play practical jokes on people. I have mellowed out as I have gotten older, but after being around Michelle for 4 days straight I realized I have really let my game go. I think it is mostly because I know that a majority of adults don't appreciate my jokes and I am worried that somehow it will go south and I will wish I would have thought through it more carefully... and, I don't ever want to hurt someone's feelings. I really do worry about that.
So, do you know how great it was to be with someone who I could just let loose on? Because she can really dish it. I got her so good. The whole trip we were all doing things back and forth--they were just dumb little things that made us laugh. After watching Michelle with all the different people on our trip from the guy she was winking at in the Hillbilly show, to the man at the check out desk at our hotel, to the flight attendant, to all the little girls, the bus driver, the tram driver, etc. she made everyone laugh. Just a little giggle, but still, she made them forget their boring jobs for minute and smile. She even went up to this boy who had just ordered a huge ice cream sundae and asked if she could just have a bite to see if she liked it. The boy just stared at her and then pushed it toward her. Hysterical.
Anyway, she is not acting or showing off. She just finds the humor in things. She can take a heavy moment and make it light-- a not so ideal situation and make fun of it. It really reset me this weekend.
Do you know why? Because we think too much. We as adults analyze too much. We worry too much. We google too much. We make such a big deal out of little things. We read every parenting book on the planet. We think our life is so hard. We don't think we get enough time to ourselves. We don't get enough sleep. Our house is always messy. The laundry is never done. There are extended family problems. The carpools never stop. The baby never stops crying. We get offended. We take too long to forgive. We think it is so hard to be a mom. We think we are sacrificing so much.
Believe me, these are things that go through my mind. These are things I hear from others.
BUT, and those are capital letters for a reason, are we acting like the teenagers we are all so worried about? The ones who feel "entitled" to things?
Do we feel "entitled" to a life with spare time, relationships without issues, clothes that never have to be washed, a baby that sleeps 12 hours every day and never cries, kids who don't fight, 8 hours of sleep no matter what, time to read, time to work -out, time to fulfill our own dreams, kids who are good at sports or music but never need to be driven to their practices, straight A students who never need us to stay up late with them helping with homework?
Are we different from any other generation in time? Every generation has had their issues. Pioneer women didn't have to race their kids around all over town but do you think they had spare time? I'm not thinking there was much time left after washing clothes in a river and hanging them to dry, making all their food from scratch, feeding animals, gardening, and curling little Emma's hair with pieces of fabric.
Sometimes I think we all need to just buck up. Life is work. We are going to be tired. We are going to feel spent and out of enthusiasm sometimes. But, when we are expecting too many rosy days without some thorns here and there-when we imagine in our mind all these things that we want in our family but forget about the 5,000 hours it takes to get there, when we want to have even just one day a certain way and it doesn't happen, then guess what? We need to just buck up and change our thinking. I think sometimes we feel "entitled" to an easier life than what we have.
We are all worried about our teenagers, but I think we also need to worry about ourselves becoming too soft as well.
Michelle reminded me that adding that laughter, that silliness, that fun back into every day life really does make you forget about all the stuff that can drive you nuts.
When was the last time you had a really good belly laugh? I mean a laugh where afterward you had to sit back, stretch your stomach, wipe the tears away and catch your breath. It is so good for the soul.
So, my new goal is to buck up and add more humor and fun into my everyday life. I didn't realize how much I thrive on that. I have always known this, but application is that hardest part sometimes-- we need to stop feeling "entitled" to an easier life and just accept that there are hard and tiring things. Accept all the different phases of life. Accept that we are all given a certain deck of cards to play with and move on from there.
There are very few people who naturally will never complain, who always look on the bright side, and don't let things get to them. For the rest of us, we have to train ourselves. Everyday. Every situation we have to talk ourselves into ignoring what really doesn't matter and lighten things up. Please don't think I am not being compassionate-- there are things that can not be ignored and need to be addressed. There are terrible tragedies and really, really hard trials, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the daily life. The ordinary life.
I am talking about living an everyday life-happy and humor filled instead of hard and heavy.
I would love to hear your thoughts...do parents feel entitled too? Is it harder in our time to make things light and be happy?