Joy in a Not So Funny Life

October 27, 2013

A couple of years ago whenever I was sharing about my life I would preface my comments with this phrase, "It was funny...but not ha ha funny."

Unfortunately I think I might start using that phrase again.

Life has been decidedly not funny lately.

I think my house might be in some sort of adolescent rebellion. Maybe it's made a pact with my children to drive me completely bonkers. Being a single mom dealing with the issues and decisions associated with five children is daunting to say the least. Keeping up with responsibilities outside of the home has been challenging and exhausting. And then add some serious family crisis in the sickness and death of my father, and life just seems a bit unfunny.

Just reread that paragraph and boy do I sound whiney. I don't want to be whiney...I want to do this life well with a good attitude.

My first year as a single mom I remember everything was an "I-am-woman-hear-me-roar" thing. I mowed the ridiculous hill in my backyard – Roar!!! I fixed the washing machine – several times – Roar!!!! I assembled furniture – shelves, beds, and dressers – Roar!!! I dealt with selling, buying, and fixing cars – Roar!!! I made huge decisions – financial, educational, household, and auto (way more than I wanted to) - Roar!!!

I distinctly remember the moment I decided I was tired of roaring. I was messing with some shelving – really heavy, cumbersome, and difficult to fix. I was no longer roaring. I was growling. And I think I still am.

I'm constantly saying to my children, "Do everything without grumbling or complaining." And, yet, here I am grumbling to my core and not just about silly things like annoying shelves.

I've been complaining about EVERYTHING!

Looking back over the past couple of years...some things have become "ha ha" funny in the recounting. Like the 3 foot high fountain my sump pump created in the basement; the crazy heavy things we've lugged in and out of the car and up and down the stairs - often with a lot of laughter; the noise my car makes while I'm picking up my children from school (my car has serious intestinal problems) which completely embarrasses my teenagers; the toilet being hosed out in the front yard so we can get the keys that were stuck in it out; the washing machine upside down in the laundry room (I did figure out that a swift kick to the washing machine works just as well and it's therapeutic, too!)

I don't want to be a fussy single mom.

But I also don't want to be responsible for everything, think about everything, and have a good attitude about everything. Sometimes I want to wail like my youngest, roll my eyes like my teenager, and complain like my pre-teen.

I want a house without issues, a car without noises, children who behave all the time, more hours in the day, and more sleep at night.

Oh dear...I'm back to complaining. So how can I turn this around?

Maybe take time to see the beauty in the day and the joy of my children. Take my thoughts captive to gratitude. See that there can be joy and even laughter in difficult circumstances.

I haven't figured out a replacement phrase for "It was funny but not ha ha funny." But maybe I just won't say it anymore. Maybe I'll just smile and share the good things I see happening in my life.

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A New Jersey girl at heart, Stephanie earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology...