You can now find my blog at its new home: www.lorifriedrich.com
See you there!
How you handle adversity says more about you than you realize.
There are millions of different sayings.
“If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
“True adversity brings out the best in people.”
“Are you a man or a mouse?”
I rant, I bitch and moan and I make jokes. I find, or at least try to find, humor in most situations. It isn’t due to irreverence to the seriousness of issues presented, it is a coping mechanism. It is how I get through a tough day, week, month, or year.
A long time ago, I learned that if you can’t laugh you have nothing. Growing up in our house, humor was all around. It was trial by flaming arrows of laughter, all aimed at you. You learned to have a thick skin. You either laughed at the joke being made at your expense or you cried.
At the time it seemed mean to me. Why in the world would my dad laugh at me and make jokes when, insert your childhood-teenage angst-filled moment here, happened.
Turns out, it taught us to find humor in all things, and what the little things actually were. There was reverence for the real, the meaningful life situations, but for all others, laughter. We didn’t need a book to learn about our “cheese”. So now, whether it is a little thing or a big thing, I laugh. Life is too short to cry at things that don’t deserve my tears.
It is better to die of side-splitting laughter, than to drown in a pool of one’s own tears.
I saw this picture on Facebook and laughed. These days if a mother did that, well, can you say Division of Child and Family Services?
What parent hasn’t had that thought run through their brain at least once (or 3,000 times)? Even as a mother of an only child I can say with absolute certainty, I have and at least once a day. That is usually when I have just carved out 10 whole minutes to myself, or so I thought.
You know the drill. The image staring back at you in the mirror is a reminder to make that waxing appointment soon or you will have an official uni-brow. The doctor said after your last physical 6 months ago to come back in a month for a follow-up. Your best friend has started to think you lost her phone number as you haven’t called her back the last 4 times she called.
You just need 5 minutes to yourself.
So, why is this not okay to do? Yeah yeah, I know, they could wiggle the clothes-pins loose and they would fall to the ground. And? It only hurts for a moment, right?
I have it, Mommy-Multitasking! Fully clothed baths then hang them on the clothes line! The clothes get dry and the kids stay clean for 5 whole minutes!
Me: Who is it?
Voice from other side of the door: Ma’am it is the police. Did you know there is a child hanging from your clothesline while singing the new Lady Gaga song? Your neighbors would like to know if he knows any Madonna, they prefer the original?
I make jokes, heck, my son doesn’t even like Lady Gaga!
Okay, so really, who would it hurt to get a few minutes of sanity in an otherwise hectic day? As long as I teach him how to carry a tune, even the neighbors won’t mind.
Dad, when you died 25 years ago, I thought it was the worst day of my life. For a few years, it was. Then I realized that while your life ended, mine needed to continue down a better path.
Since you left, you missed a lot, and while I like to believe you can look down and share in our big events, I should catch you up anyway.
I met a guy. You would have liked him. Then you would have beaten the crap out of him, but then you would have liked him again. You weren’t there to approve, so I had to rely on the Ruthie seal of approval. She liked him and I am sure she told you all about him when she got there. Your brother stood in your place the day I got married. You absence was noticed by everyone, and we all cried a bit harder because of it.
We bought our first house, and started doing all the holidays at our house. It was too depressing to do them at your house without the patriarch to lead us, so I told Mommy that she had done them for all those years and it was my turn now. She either bought it, or understood and acquiesced, she is sly that way.
Hey dad, we had a baby. He looks just like I did in my baby pictures. Mommy & Derek were there at the hospital to welcome the new arrival. You were missed, but good old Uncle Derek made sure to get the baby his first football for his bassinet. While we didn’t give him your English name, when we all stood in the Temple, it was your name that was spoken in Hebrew. Mazel Tov, you are a Zayde!
In time we moved away, and moved away again. We are in California of all places now, and while it hasn’t fallen in to the ocean yet, it may any day now. You would appreciate the relaxed, laid back atmosphere. There have been many times I have looked around over the years, and been sad you could not experience it with us.
What I realize now is that you are. There is a part of you that lives on in me. I take no crap and can smell b.s. a mile away, due to the lessons you taught. I can appreciate a good joke from the sense of humor you passed down. My love of football and baseball and hockey and basketball come from the many hours watching and/or playing them with you. I love politics and good debate because you got us involved in local campaigns when we were young. I can throw sarcasm as far as the eye can see thanks to running the daily gauntlet in our house, known as family discussion time.
I am so many things, but most of all, I am my father’s daughter.
Yesterday was day 2 of not smoking.
I found the morning routine was getting a bit easier, but only when armed with the celery sticks and water. Seeing how they aren’t the worst things in the world to be using as a crutch, I am going with it.
The extra bitchy comes and goes, depending on the accompanying external stress. I can feel when it is coming on, and have learned to just breathe through it.
I kept away from the computer on Day 1. I didn’t want to make things harder than they had to be. For me, I find that sitting down to the computer to let off some steam playing games, is a smoking trigger. So I didn’t do it.
Day 2 I took the plunge. I went in to a hangout. It was like a Jimmy Buffet song. I had smokers to my left, and smokers to my right.
We had fun with it, I had people blow smoke at me and pretended to sniff & savor. Truth is, I made the jokes, but after the initial “hey they are smoking and I can’t” thought, the feeling went away.
The rest of the night was uneventful as I just kept busy and didn’t think about it.
If they aren’t here, I won’t smoke, simple as. I am not going to die because I can’t have one, I couldn’t say that a month ago, I can now. A journey of a thousand miles is made up of millions of steps. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have supportive friends and family.
Two steps down, millions more to go.
Yesterday was Day 1. First day with no nicotine. Well, that isn’t quite right, it was the first day I didn’t put more nicotine in to my system.
The Chantix pills make some people nuts-O crazy. That is what had my doctor most worried about putting me on the pills. I told him, “doc, you can’t make crazy, worse. I’ll be fine.”
HA! They need to put a HUGE label on the box about the nauseousness! The reason you don’t smoke isn’t because you don’t crave one, it is because it is hard to light a cigarette when your head is in the toilet bowl!
Flick, flick…why won’t this damn thing light?!?!?!
I kid. When the 7th night came, I smoked my last one and went up to bed. No matter how much that first day got to me, I didn’t light one up, didn’t have one, didn’t try and mooch one, didn’t go to the corner store and buy any.
This despite the database having one of its usual snafus and leaving unpaid duplicates all throughout my data. This despite the fact that one of the managers took the day off and left his department in the hands of a trainee only 3 weeks in to the job and still not up to speed. This despite the fact that they had left the paperwork from last week and utter disaster for me to find on a bright and cheery Monday morning.
People who are quitting smoking should not be left to their own devices around heavy equipment. I contemplated welding his drawers shut as a thank you, but stopped short when I realized his desk was made of wood. I contemplated playing keyboard character shuffle, but thought better of it, I hate to hear men whine.
I kid a lot, but I made it through that first day armed with bottles of water & iced tea, lots of fresh veggies to gnaw on, packs of gum to crackle and pop, and oodles of patience. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.