Laugh in the Face of Tragedy


Daily Prompt: Toot Your Horn

Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favourite thing about yourself.

My favourite thing about myself is that I can always laugh, even in the middle of a disaster. I find that  this tendency is the key to my sanity, although some people might question my sanity when I laugh so hard that I almost fall off my chair.

I also laugh at myself, my nine children and my husband. Perhaps I hide a sadistic streak. The times I have laughed the hardest concern my husband and bathtubs. Once Michael was stuck in small bathtub, trying to rinse his hair with a princess shower head without getting any water on the floor. The second hilarious incident was when he was stuck in a cold bath, with his leg sticking straight out in a cast, while I attempted to haul him up! Both times I laughed so hard that I ended up on the floor. My husband did not even smile.

Usually, though, my laughter cuts tension,  sadness and anger. I even laughed on the worst day of my mothering career.

One evening, when I had only four children, everyone was finally asleep and Michael had gone out to play hockey with his house league team.

“Ah”, I thought to myself, “A chance to put my feet up and enjoy a bit of reading”.

A couple of minutes into my free time, I heard that plaintive little cry that always causes a mother to jump up into the air and rush to the rescue. This time it was five-year old Melissa who woke up vomiting everywhere. It covered her pillow, p.j.s, sheets, comforter and was in her hair, all over her face and soaked right through her top. Poor Melissa reeked almost as badly as her room and she was crying.

I gently washed her face and body with a warm, wet face cloth and lots of sweet-smelling soap, washed her hair over the edge of the tub, quickly dried it, put on clean pyjamas and tucked her into my clean bed with a hot bean bag and lots of hugs. Just a side note: I had just put clean sheets on all the beds that very morning.

I had no sooner stripped Melissa’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 pyjamas and in 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? You’ve probably caught on to how this special, forever seared in my brain night was playing out. The entire procedure happened all over again. Finally my little girl was sleeping peacefully, in her own bed, made up with blankets I had unearthed from a box in the basement.

I tip-toed into the kitchen to deal with nine-month old David who had woken up during all this activity. I had corralled him in part of the child proof kitchen only to discover that he had pulled out three litres of oil, tipped it over and spilt all of it on the kitchen floor. Now, David was gleefully swimming and splashing on his tummy in a pool of oil which soaked every inch of his clothes, face, 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 and laughed and laughed until my stomach ached and tears were streaming down my face.

I managed to pull myself together, somehow, to begin the arduous task of cleaning up this slippery but happy nine-month old. After giving him his second bath that evening and stuffing his ruined clothes in the garbage, I balanced him on my hip as I spooned up some of the oil.

Finally at nearly eleven that night, I had washed the floor and David was asleep. Michael came through the kitchen carrying his heavy hockey bag and He nearly broke his neck slipping on that kitchen floor.

“Gee Mel,” he said, ” What happened here?”

My reaction? I threw up my hands and laughed, till I almost cried.

39 thoughts on “Laugh in the Face of Tragedy

  1. This story almost made me cry. When my children were young, I unfortunately did not view things with the same sense of humour (that’s what years of pent up angry will do to you).

    Laughter and a keen sense of humour will see you through many a crisis!



  2. It’s truly the best medicine. For so many things like that I just don’t see the point of getting upset. It only makes things worse. There are plenty of things to cry about in life so don’t cry over spilled milk…or vomit. 😉


  3. Thank you 🙂 for liking my stuff. A few of my friends had babies recently and I see how hard it is to take care of them. it really scares me and I always wonder if I’ll make a good mom.

    So, when I see people who are happy and positive and haven’t lost their minds. I am always inspired and feel like maybe it won’t be so bad.


  4. Ah, the memories! With a boatload of kids, there’s never an illness; it’s always ends up being an epidemic…and we only had seven kids to deal with.

    For us it was eggs, not oil; red punch base on a white carpet (rented house, of course), a baby that insisted on swallowing coins – then barfing them back up again, and a two-year-old who dropped out the bedroom windows in the wee hours of the morning (and on a regular basis) to go walk-about.

    One day a female officer delivered him and asked, “Haven’t you people ever heard of the police?” – to which I replied, “If I called you every time he went missing, you’d have Child Protective Services camped on my doorstep!”

    Thank goodness they’re all grown and on their own now. I wasted no time pushing them out of the nest while I still had some sanity left to work with!



      1. Great idea. I’ll add it to my notepad of prompts.

        It’s nice to have a friendly “face” tonite (It’s 9 p.m. here). It’s been a long day at the hospital with my bro-in-law (post about it on my blog). He’s probably not going to last more than a day or two. Wish I knew his final destination. That makes all the difference in the world.
        Anyway, thanks for cheering me up.You’re a gift from Abba! (((((((((Melanie)))))))))))


      2. a friend of mine was sure her mum was not saved. Dying and in a coma, her mother opened her eyes, lit up smiling, closed her eyes and died. She KNEW that her agnostic mother had sayed yes to jesus. I KNOW that our lord is rich in mercy and that those who accept Him at the last sec receive the fullness of blessings, the same as those who laboured in the vineyard all day


      3. Thanks for that bit of encouragement. We’ve been praying for him for a long time. I’m just trusting the Lord on this one. What else can I do?

        You’re a dear. Thanks!


  5. I trust in the lord now. I am born again. Blessings to all. But sometimes you have to laugh or life can get so depressing. And no body needs that. Now a days I move on. Thank you for following my blog


  6. There are plenty of situations that arise where we need to hold onto ourself right !! Yeah I have tried laughing it out when people around me cried but sometimes it gets too hard to just keep everything stuffed in. I wish I can move on. I hope I do. Great post.


      1. But sometimes it hits me so hard- this part of life- especially when I lost my dear friend just a few weeks back. I am still not able to face the facts. Sometimes I believe only time heals things and laughter helps in the process.


  7. I just had to say…I LOVED READING THIS!! As a mother 9( 4 boys+5 girls ages 19-3) I can totally relate. If I didn’t have a sense of humor( scewed as it may be at times) I would definitely be more oh and the oil incident that is totally classic of what happens around here. My son was “helping” fees the dog. A 20lb bag of dog food all over my kitchen in the time it took to go to the car doe another load of groceries.hahahaha.


  8. I just had to say…I LOVED READING THIS!! As a mother 9( 4 boys+5 girls ages 19-3) I can totally relate. If I didn’t have a sense of humor( scewed as it may be at times) I would definitely be more oh and the oil incident that is totally classic of what happens around here. My son was “helping” feed the dog. A
    20lb bag of dog food all over my kitchen in the tiforme it took to go to the car doe another load of groceries.hahahaha.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s