It was Friday night. Between Fall baseball and football we hadn't seen Jared in three days and still had another half day ahead of us. We are fragile on Fridays, our edges frayed. We do our best to stay positive, but we both are one broken animal cracker away from a meltdown.
This particular night was going well. Jackson and I had just made cashew queso together (recipe in We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook) and eaten Tostados for dinner. Corabelle was napping. As I washed up our dishes after the meal, I asked Jackson, four, to bring me the stainless steel bowl of chips from the table. Instead of bringing it to me, he marched circles around the island carrying the bowl and cheerfully munching on the chips.
And then I heard the noise of stainless steel hitting the tile and turned around at the sink to see chips flying through the air. Jackson’s eyes met mine, chips cascaded between our gaze. I could see he was scared. Mom’s about to yell. He knew it. I knew it. But then something happened in a split second. Laugh, it’s okay to laugh. And I smiled and I buckled over, laughing to tears. His eyes went from fear to surprise to relief to joy before he finally, too, laughed. And we stood there chips surrounding us every way we looked and we laughed some more.
After the laughter subsided, I said casually, “Okay, can you grab the broom and start sweeping while I finish up the dishes?” And he grabbed the broom and went right to work, sweeping up the mess still smiling. Looking up from his work, he paused and laughed again, “Mommy, did you see how it was raining chips? That was so funny!”
And I thought to myself, if I had yelled, this would have been memorable in a very different way. He would have swept the floor as I nagged him of how he needs to be more careful and how if he’d just brought me the chips like I’d asked this whole situation could have been avoided. He would have whined, I would have to ask him to stop whining. It would have been a whole thing. I would have replayed the big fiasco to my husband the next day dramatizing it for effect, I’m trying to clean up and he’s creating chaos every time I turn around. Story. Of. My Life.
But in a split second, with one choice, the projection of our evening changed. With one laugh, the memory transformed.
Sometimes when our kid screws up or when we screw up or when it’s raining chips in your kitchen…it’s okay to laugh. Really. It’s okay. Try it.