Laughter and humor can be powerful tools. They provide an outlet – a release of thoughts, feelings and emotions that are kept inside. They offer a sense of relief from stress and tension and, often times, they provide a much needed distraction. And, the best part is that they are always there – just waiting for you. You may not always see it and you certainly don’t always feel it but humor is there nonetheless. Sometimes you just need to be creative in finding it.
Creativity, believe it or not, opens the door for humor and laughter. It can shift your perspective and provide unexpected avenues of relief. Using humor and laughter isn’t always appropriate for every situation but, let’s be honest, when you find yourself twirling in circles at the end of a long day and humming along to the carnival music in your head – maybe it’s time to get creative!
Case in point…
It had been a really hard day with the kids and I was teetering on the edge of sanity. I mean, really on the edge! It’s in those moments that I can’t really explain why I do what I do…it just sort of happens. It’s not like I’m in the habit of intentionally making my son cry but the comic relief (and I stress the word “relief”) I found in my actions and my son’s reactions that evening far outweighed any rational thought. Not to mention the fact that creativity was about the only thing I had left in me for the day.
My husband was working late and wouldn’t be home for dinner – and because my kids had already driven me up a wall – I opted for something quick and simple. A pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and a bag of salad. I put my daughter to bed and just as soon as my son was buckled in his chair we were ready to eat. That’s my kind of quick-and-simple!
I was just about to take a bite of my food when I noticed a particular piece of chicken on my plate. It looked strikingly similar to a large fang. It just so happens that my son was really into dinosaurs at the time and so I thought I would be funny. I tucked the piece of chicken up under my lip so that it stuck out like a large fang and then covered my mouth with my hand. I looked at my beautiful little boy and said, “I think something is wrong with my tooth. Can you take a look?” (He was about two at the time and was really into being my little helper) He innocently agreed – thrilled to be of service.
I leaned in close and then dropped my hand, exposing my giant chicken-fang. For a split second the smile remained on his face and I thought we would end up laughing. But, then came a noise so strange to me that I thought it must be coming from outside. He looked at me and I looked at the door – and then back at him. And, that is when I noticed the tears. Big…huge…tears. The chicken-fang had scared my son so badly that he managed to summons up the most God-awful noise I have ever heard. I quickly removed the chicken and attempted to calm him down. Fortunately, he managed to pull himself together almost as quickly as I removed my fang. However, it was clear that it had made an impression. He smiled bravely and even forced out a little laugh – happy enough just to put the whole thing behind him. Happy, that I no longer had a fang.
I felt badly for scaring him – I did! But, something about the whole thing affected me in such a way that I couldn’t stop laughing. And that is where most other people would have ended things. I mean, who does this? Who intentionally scares their child with a chicken-fang?! But, knowing that I was on to something I decided to press my luck and keep going. If I scared him with a chicken-fang what would happen with a chicken-CLAW?
Unbeknownst to my son, I placed the same piece of chicken on one of my fingers; making it look as if it were a claw. And then, once again setting him up for a scare, I asked my sweet little boy to hold my hand (You can’t really blame me – I told you it had been a bad day. Humor comes in many forms you know! And this is me being creative!). He reached his soft little hand toward mine…and…at the sight of my gnarled-up chicken-claw I heard that same gut-wrenching noise erupt all over again. His reaction – just as I had hoped for – was exactly the same if not better than chicken-fang. And, fortunately for me, just as short-lived. I quickly removed my claw – and once again, his tears where gone almost as soon as the chicken was.
The tears may have faded but the humor didn’t! I laughed so hard that I could barely breath. And, every now and again, just for my own benefit, when my son wasn’t looking I would put the chicken on my finger and laugh all over again. I couldn’t get enough of my chicken-claw. I had found an outlet and I took full advantage! I finally regained my composure – and whatever proper mothering skills I had left for the day -and promised him that I wouldn’t do it again. Yes! Even I have my limits. (FYI, I didn’t eat that piece of chicken either – I kept it to show my husband when he got home. Which, I’m sure made him wonder about what happened to the kids every day while he was gone. )
I am sorry that I scared him but in those moments when you find yourself teetering on the edge – a long day at work, a hard day with kids, a misunderstanding with a friend or family member, a fight with a spouse, stress over finances – look for creative ways to shift your perspective, to change your thought and to lighten your mood. I did what I needed to do to survive that day. And survival, for me, meant a little bit of creative humor.
I look at it this way: It was an opportunity (a piece of chicken really) that presented itself at a moment, in a day, when I really needed it. My son doesn’t remember it – but I do. And what’s better than being able to look back on a bad day…and laugh?!
*For me, the only thing better than laughter itself is the ability to share it with someone else. Thanks for reading!