Yes, that’s a line from a Jimmy Buffett song. But, in my opinion, it’s one that holds more truth than most people realize.
Let’s be honest. Life is hard. Regardless of your situation, we all face struggles. And often the only choice you have in the midst of the struggle is how you’re going to react. Our family usually finds a way to laugh.
If you’ve read any of my other stories you already know that both of our kids are on the high functioning end of the Autism Spectrum. If you’re new to our site, this basically means that 90% of the time they appear average but the other 10% is a range of crazy that is hard to describe. I was describing on of these crazy times to a co-worker when I just busted out laughing.
The boy started having a meltdown while I was trying to work. (Meltdowns are not tantrums, trust me. They rarely work themselves out without at least some intervention.) My de-escalation techniques were not getting me anywhere and he was getting more agitated and violent. So I decided he needed a quieter place to calm down and I sent him back to his bedroom. This led to five minutes of hide and seek followed by me physically placing him in his room.
He was not happy. There was screaming. There was banging on the door. There were escape attempts. I ended up standing outside his room to prevent him from leaving. Then he suddenly remembered that his bedroom has a door into the bathroom. And he tried to escape that way. What he failed to realize is that his bedroom door and the hallway door to the bathroom are right next to each other, and he’s about as quiet as a flock of seagulls. Yeah, he tried to run out and found me standing in his way.
Now he was really mad. He started throwing rolls of toilet paper out the bathroom door while holding on to the end of the paper. TP everywhere. Then he started running back and forth between his bedroom door and the bathroom door trying to see if he could get past me. At one point I was actually stretched between the two doors holding them both closed. I’m not flexible. And that wasn’t comfortable. And anyone walking in behind me would have thought I had trapped the Tasmanian Devil in my house.
Finally, the crazy started to calm. I let go of the doors. I told the boy to let me know when he was calm and ready to talk. And I walked back into the office.
Maybe 10 minutes later all was quiet and I decided to check on him. As I approached the door, I saw some sort of fluid under the door on the floor. Not blood so no need to panic. But it looked weird. I bent over and realized it was lotion. What? No! Seriously!
Yes, upon opening the door I found that he had vented his anger by using the lotion and the Vaseline to make a slip and slide on his bedroom floor. And he was sitting in his chair laughing and daring me to come get him. He thought I was going to bust my behind the minute I stepped in his room and he thought it would be funny.
I did manage not to explode. Took the boy, who was covered in these slippery substances, to the bathroom and got him in the shower. Then I started to attempt to clean the floor. My husband came home and found me crawling on the floor with a roll of paper towels and a bottle of spray cleaner, and the boy still in the shower. (For future reference, don’t use spray cleaner on Vaseline. It does not help. At all)
This is the story I was laughingly relating to my co-worker the next day. She was uncertain how to respond to me. I’m sure the thought that I had completely lost my mind crossed hers. But I told her the only thing I could do was laugh.
After he got out of the shower the boy was perfectly calm and remorseful. He knew that what he had done was wrong. But during a meltdown his brain doesn’t function in a logical or rational way. He helped clean up the mess and we hugged it out. No major damage done.
Looking back on this episode with anything other than humor doesn’t help me or my family. Spending our hours focusing on the negative aspects of the crazy that surrounds us would just make us even crazier. So, we laugh. And trust me, we laugh a lot. But that’s how we make it through this roller coaster ride. You should give it a shot. To quote Charlie Chaplin, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”