“What about these ones?” Harry, my 12-year old son, asked.
We had been to 3 different stores searching for Christmas Tree lights. The sliding door of the van fell off. Like completely off. My phone kept binging every 10 minutes to remind me that my I- phone storage was completely full.
I was this close to losing my mind.
“Honey, those are outdoor lights. They’re too big for the tree” I said.
“That’s what she said.” He muttered while he put the lights back on the shelf.
You know how you don’t need a license to drive a tractor? Apparently, you only need to watch the first 7 seasons of “The Office” 3 times to qualify to make inappropriate statements in Costco. I started laughing so hard, my sides hurt. I doubled over and howled. Harry is the least crude kid in creation. His innocence set against the chaos of the day and the randomness of the comment created a moment of pure joy that I couldn't help but bask in. The kids couldn’t resist either. They joined in and laughed until they cried. A gentlemen peaked his head around the corner to see who was making a fuss. He smiled. I hope he was offended by the noise. Costco echoes. Who knew?
Maybe I shouldn’t have encouraged the behavior. Maybe I don’t care.
Then there was the toque. (Yes, I had to google that word twice to verify spelling). After shoving the van door back on (AGAIN), we proceeded to go get our tree at the most pitiful, Charlie-Brown-selection-of-a-tree-farm in human history, and hope that a child didn’t fall out of the car en route (the door of the car was latched - kinda. Don’t judge. Duct tape was involved).
When we got there, my husband was sporting his toque, sunglasses, and a salt ‘n pepper beard that Jolly ‘ole Saint Nick himself would be envious of. (See pic below. You’re welcome.) He won’t throw the silly hat away because he needs it for this one day every year. Kent is a facial hair horticulturist. Some might look at his mountain man beard and sly NIKE’s, and think “there’s a ruffian to reckon with” or “looks like he’s given up on life. Let’s pray.” I take one look at him and I literally become useless, I am laughing so hard. The entire scene is genuinely ridiculous. I am muddy, and loud, and cold and I’m pretty sure that one of our offspring was attempting to open the door that we respectively threatened their lives to NEVER touch again. I am laughing so strongly that I think I might burst open and sparkly, glitter gold would land on anything that would hold still long enough.
“What?” he asked with a smile. He gets a dimple on the left side of his cheek when he smiles. You can even see it through the beard.
As if that weren't enough, the next evening my friend, Angie, saw fit to suck my facial pours clean with her latest Rodan & Fields toy. We were laughing so hard, she snorted and I could barely hold still for her to retrieve 20 years worth of blackheads from my chin.
Later, I reflected on the weekend. I didn’t remember the first two stores that were out of Christmas lights (for the love), or the mud, or the cold, or the damn door of the van. I remember the laughing. While rocking Abe that night, I asked what his favorite part of the day was. He said “laughing with you.” While I continued to rock him, I conjured up the memories of gut laughing with my own parents. One day, my mom came home from working a night shift and laughed for 48 hours straight about an experience she had with a patient at the hospital. I also counted how many times my dad’s belly shook up and down when he laughed until he cried. Twenty-three. His fake laugh sounded like a seal barking. It was beautiful.
I find days like this alot in my life. The opportunity to choose Laugh vs. Cry happens on the regular. My mother-in-law always says, “You can either get mad, or get the camera.” I have a “Cloud” full of photo storage. I have 109 messages from Apple to prove it.
So ya, maybe I don’t care about an occasional, well-placed “that’s what she said” joke or a toque that should’ve died 3 decades ago. The laughter is worth gold.
And gold is only worth something if you give it away. So here you go. Laugh it up and Merry Christmas.
NOTE: Sometime between now and the end of the year, Kent will take the beard to a stache, then down to a Fu-man-chu just to piss me off. Then he won’t get any love and he will shave it clean off and look like a 27 year old. Happens. Every. Year.