I have always managed to keep my large family’s difficulties in perspective through humour.
One of my jokes is on the typical marriage vow about for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. I say, “Well, we’ve seen worse, poorer and sickness and now we’re more than ready for better, richer and healthier”. Then I dissolve into gales of laughter. I must admit Michael never fails to simply raise one eyebrow in my direction and smile apologetically at our visitors.
Humour works for mothers, not just wives.
One evening everyone was finally asleep and Michael had gone out to play hockey. A couple of minutes into my free time, I heard five-year-old Jean vomiting everywhere. It covered her pillow, p.j.s, sheets, comforter and was in her hair and all over her face. I washed her with a warm face cloth and lots of sweet-smelling soap, put on clean pajamas and tucked her into my clean bed.
I had no sooner stripped Jean’s bed, rinsed out all the bedding, put in a load of wash and remade her bed when she vomited all over my pillow, sheets, comforter, her pajamas and her hair. I cleaned her up a second time, tucked her in her now fresh bed, stripped my bed and piled up the dirty bedding in the basement. But guess what transpired in the next 20 minutes? The entire procedure happened all over again.
Finally, I tiptoed into the kitchen to deal with nine-month-old Joseph who had woken up during all this activity. I had corralled him in part of the child-proof kitchen only to discover he had pulled out three litres of oil, tipped it over and spilt all of it onto the kitchen floor.
Now, Joseph was gleefully laying on his tummy, splashing in a pool of oil which soaked every inch of his clothes, body, and hair. What was my reaction to this overwhelming scene? I leaned against the kitchen wall and slid down till I sat on the floor with my legs sticking straight out. Then I giggled. Then I laughed until my stomach ached and tears were streaming down my face.
It has been proven, when people laugh at their foibles and do not take themselves too seriously, their problems suddenly shrink and they in turn gain perspective. Over-dramatizing conflict is deadly. This is simply an example of cognitive therapy in action: take a step away from each conflict and looking at the big picture, through the eyes of God.
And the truth is, human beings are funny.