Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Channel Your Inner Butt-Man

I'm serious--when life is like a butt, giving you nothing but crap and bad air, give it a face and a name. Heck, even give it hair. And laugh at it. In my son's case, he named his, "Butt-Man." Literally. Imagine my surprise when after time-out last weekend, Michael handed me this sheet of paper and was laughing hysterically. He explained that he did this during time-out time in his room when I put him in there, and that he did this because he was really mad at me. It doesn't really...make sense but...does it matter? He had a turn-around, and I laughed my head off. Don't get me wrong; I'm not condoning his inappropriateness...In fact, the current rule in the house is, "We may not draw private parts. Butt-Man and Teekee-Man are not appropriate characters for art and playtime."

No; this will not heal wounds, stop horrific acts in the world/make them better, resolve finances, or cure diseases. If I knew what did, I'd be all over it. And famous, I might add. And probably hotter...ooh ooh--and I'd have my own masseuse, chocolatier, Adoration chapel, and hair stylist. (What?!)
Anyway, this is just some good 'ol fashioned coping skills to survive the petty things we stress over. That is currently what I stress over most of the time--petty, stupid things. So, I [try to] laugh at them. Anymore, it seems my kids have better coping ideas than I do sometimes. When they are in the middle of an argument, usually, Matty toots like a tug-boat and sends the other boys into roaring laughter. At first, Matty is angry that he was the butt (no pun intended) of the joke, but then ends up laughing with them, at himself. A good Butt-Man is successful at lightening us up.

Here's an example of how Handsome Husband channeled his inner Butt-Man the other night, my DINNER: I cooked dinner. I hate cooking. Cooking hates me. Oddly enough, I'm still a pretty decent cook. With the exception of last night. I made a meal that is usually fool-proof and delicious. Somehow, it proved to be foolish. I was so distracted and overwhelmed with school night drama amongst the chilin's, that instead of browning the meat first, I mixed everything together. What this means is, I boiled the turkey burger in the tomato concoction. Ew. The turkey burger cooked in the shape it came in, like little lo-mein meat-noodles. Or squid heads. When Handsome Husband got home, as I was nursing the baby, letting whatever energy I lastly possessed be sucked right outta me, he urgently said,
"Hon--did you FEED this to the kids?!"
"Did you know that the meat isn't cooked? It's still looks raw!"
"*sigh* It's not raw. It's just...boiled."
I had to go into the other room to see that he hadn't eaten it, and died right then and there of salmonella poisoning. Farrrr from it. Instead, he was lying on the floor laughing into a pillow, pounding his fist on the floor trying to control himself from laughing "out loud." I haven't seen him laugh that hard since...never. He was actually crying he was laughing so hard. Ass.

"What's SO funny?" I demanded. Angry. Definitely angry.
"It's--it's just that--you tried SO hard and..." more laughter. Bastard. I've about had it.
"You find my devoted time and energy to feed our family...funn--"
"NO NO NO, honey! [in between breaths] It's that I just can't believe sometimes, that your job is for REAL."
Wrong thing to say.

But because the more he tried to talk, the worse it got (like the time he told me my shirt didn't look 'weird', it just "looked like a curtain" but this was 'okay' because I didn't look like a curtain, the shirt did) and I finally cracked and laughed. A lot. We staggered over to the giant pot of would-be chili and stared in silence at the floating lo-mein turkey burger. We burst out laughing again until we both cried (some more) at how ridiculous life can just...BE.

And so, I have two forms of thought on this topic: I. I think back to this day and see that instead of being frustrated that Gabe did NOT have an ear infection (but has been fussy, not eating, and tugging at his ears) and cost us two whole hours and $45 at the tiny doctor's office, (complete with boys yanking out OB stirrups yelling, 'What are THESE for, Mama?") I should be grateful for his pristine health. Instead of being angry that the kids got into all the left-over waffles from this past weekend...and trailed them ALL over the reading room floor, it is a blessing that we have a home they can trail blaze in, and food to spare right now. It has not always been so. Instead of being anxious that the kids probably will be up a lot tonight (because that's how they roll), I should be so enamored that I get to lie next to my wonderful husband tonight.

II. I also think though, that God wouldn't have given us the emotions He did, were it not okay to experience them from time to time. I think it's okay too, to just be pissed about stupid stuff sometimes, until you are in a good enough place to laugh about it. I "should be" all of these things and eventually through the day, have been and will be. It is okay also though, to be human with our discovering virtue. I am in the school of thought that, Mother Mary wasn't just patient because she was Jesus' Mom. Obviously, God created her for the task. But we can't forget that more so, He knew who He was choosing. That when she would become irritable, exhausted, annoyed, sleep-deprived, anxious etc., she was a person who would know the ultimate place to take these emotions, rather than thinking she would never experience these emotions. I believe God expects every emotion but hopes, that we make good choices with them.
As a parent, there are hundreds of times (it seems!) a day when my littler guys cry about the littlest things. "I hurt, Mommy!" "I dropped my cway-on, Mommy!" "I hungry, Mommy!" cry, cry, cry all the day long. Over and over, I try to empathize in their pains because these little things are catastrophic to them. I also sometimes, don't sympathize because, they need to see the measure of what truly is catastrophic, and what is just a little bump in the road. Isn't God that way too with us? He is with us when we whine and throw little tantrums about this and that not going how we desired or planned and yet, I think sometimes He lets us learn and "grow up", to give us perspective. Like, "Yes, you spent all that time on dinner. I see that you are exhausted, my Little Love. That is okay." He never makes me feel stupid, even when I AM stupid. Like later when I turn on the news and see women working in sweat shops in other countries or being trafficked like property. I don't feel shut down or invalidated; I just feel like reality was explained to me. "Yes, your life can be hard. It just can be. So is theirs...Be appreciative of your cross; you are the only one who can overcome it." Thank GOD indeed! If I had to overcome some poor sap's cross that cooked all day AND smiled AND never said anything cynical?! I'd be screwed!! And, He embraces our pains that are big to us. Our pains whether big or little, are real and valuable.

I guess I write about all of this because, in no other season do we honor something so profound and great, in such a small bundle. The birth of a little baby come to change the world also speaks to the forgotten, the helpless, and the broken-hearted. The message says, "There is hope for the helpless, affection for the broken-hearted. The forgotten are profoundly needed." It also says, no person is too small to change the world. So many years ago, the smallest of us took every one of us into His heart...

Well folks, it needed to get deep SOMETIME...I needed to write about Butt-Man in any case and also make this blog my Butt-Man because literally, before I started writing, I called Handsome Husband and said, "GOOD news honey, I opened the fridge and out spilled the ENTIRE pot of squid-lo-mein-turkey-chili. Looks like pizza for dinner." Once again, MY dinner was his Butt-Man, the thing that turned his day around into a better one. Apparently, when I cook, everyone wins.

Merry Christmas.

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