When we were little and growing up on doses of ‘Family Ties’ we were fed a bowl of cheerios with a spoonful of sugar…er…or two. Thank God I was an 80’s kid and lived life with sugar added to everything –even my strawberries- and my head was still allowed to hit the pillow without any guilt of impending brain explosions or clogged arteries. Sure they brushed upon hot topics like teen issues, bad relationships, and temptations. They sure as heck didn’t cover topics like weeding your flowerbeds constantly, cleaning up everyone’s junk all the time, and attempting to make dinner while your 3 year old’s head spins as she vomits green goo out of her mouth. Not really, but that is what I visualize when she flips her lid because I gave her the wrong color plate for dinner. In all seriousness, they battled some serious issues but with a laugh track and typically a conclusion in less than 30 minutes and with a serenade of closing music. Man, this is easy. Sign me up!
As I am writing I am looking around at my house and in every corner there is misplaced articles of clothing and baskets of clothes to fold. There is an action figure still in a stance to battle a crazy bad guy trying to kidnap Barbie and take over the world (or at least the house on Chrisfield lane). Toys, books, art supplies – EVERYWHERE. If I look out my window the weeds are out of control and I am currently waiting with bated breath for a pink slip from the neighborhood busybody telling me to take care of my yard. “Who the heck picked the corner house anyway, Bob?!” It takes everything in my power not to fall into the depths of guilt and shame because my house isn’t up to Pintrest standards and my walls are still beige (not slated gray) with hand prints smeared all over them.
Adulting is hard. Like, super duper, hard. A constant balancing act of juggling life, kids, husband, dumb teenagers, and house chores. The Keatons didn’t tell me I was going to have to grocery shop every week and do laundry. Okay, I don’t do laundry every week and I sure don’t iron clothes, but that is an issue I can deal with at my next therapy session.
Last night my daughter screamed for 45 minutes before going to bed. Holy cow – her voice is piercing. I admit, I lost my patience for a hot minute and had to walk away (or shall I say I was escorted away by my husband). I envisioned ways I could leave her at the end of my driveway and put a sign that says “Free 3 year old kid – take if you like living life on the edge” but I resisted. What? I would let her take, Mr. Bear, for the love of God – I’m not a savage!! Did I mention that my teenager was moody when he got home and raged about our spotty Internet for 45 minutes? Where the heck is my laugh track and when are we wrapping up this episode? Hasn’t it been 30 minutes yet?
It is hard. It is okay to complain that life is hard in the midst of our #firstworldproblems. Let’s be real – there are seasons. Seasons of gut-wrenching adversity and seasons of grass that needs to be mowed twice in one week!! Disgusting, I feel you. The beautiful thing is we are all battling the same stuff. Same stuff. Different day. Different week. Different year. So, next time you pass that mom trying to muffle her screaming kid in Target toss her a nod of understanding. Throw up your suburban mom/dad gang sign and tuck a Starbucks card in her back pocket. When someone invites you over tell them, “DO NOT clean your house or get out your special China for me. Seriously. It is all good.”
Life is hard. Even for us pampered folks with the blessings of a toilet that flushes. We all know one moment the toilet is flushing and the next moment a spouse lost a job or some medical diagnosis is looming over you like a black cloud. The only way we can get through this roller coaster thing we call “life” is to show a little grace for each other. Show grace when your friend doesn’t call you back for two weeks or even let a person cut in line because they are in a hurry. “Lady, I’m in a hurry too you know!!” Sigh. I’m still working on showing grace for people who cut in line. Just ask my husband.
Anyway, be the laugh track in somebody’s life -even when your laugh track is missing. Learn to play an instrument for the closing credits to help someone transition out of their 30 minute episode. Adulting is hard but we don’t have to let each other do it alone. Let’s tip our cups in solidarity for each other and navigate this crazy life together. After all, we can live in the hopes of another episode just around the corner.