When I was young, my mum used to buy the Readers Digest – I have no idea why when it was free in every doctor’s waiting room. My favourite section was “Laughter is the Best Medicine” (which seems quite apt due to the aforementioned doctors’ waiting rooms). This week has shown me just how true that saying is. Ok, it cannot cure someone with a terminal illness – but neither can medicine, so you might as well die laughing.
The other night I received a late-night phone call from a sobbing friend. She works shifts and this week her husband is working away. After feeding her twin three-year-old boys, she sat them in the living room to watch a Christmas film while she quickly jumped in the bath. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, considering the hours she works, she fell asleep in the bath, waking up freezing cold a whole hour later. She literally jumped out of the bath and ran downstairs starkers, knowing that something had gone terribly wrong.
This is what she saw: The living room child gate was collapsed in the hallway. It had clearly put up a brave fight, but was now spread eagle and despondent on the cold tiled floor. Every previously wrapped Christmas present had been dragged from the dining room into the living room where they were piled up in the centre like the world’s most expensive bonfire. Some had their wrappers half torn and cast aside in disgust when revealing they only hid clothing. Sweets, however had been mercilessly ripped open and little piles of sick lay testament to just how many had been gobbled down (and back up). Packed lunch paraphernalia had been brought in from the kitchen and the greedy gremlins had gorged on Pringles and Baby Belles. Christmas baubles had been enthusiastically smashed, juice had been gratuitously sprayed across the sofa, curtains and carpet, and Christmas cards had been ripped and scattered like a snow blizzard.
We stayed talking on the phone for ages. I sympathised, made suggestions, offered to come and help, but her sister had already promised to go round first thing in the morning. The next day after work I called in to see how she was doing. She was still really upset, so we sat down with a good old English cup o’ tea. Then something strange happened. She began to see the funny side of what had happened. We realised that those two boys had just had the best party of their lives, ever. Three years old and no grown ups to stop them from doing anything at all they wanted. No rules! We realised that they were no different to the rock stars of the 1970s and 1980s who traditionally trashed their hotel rooms, threw TVs out of the window and drove cars into swimming pools. Those boys had had the best time of their lives. We were creased up at the comparison and immediately made plans to include their escapades in their wedding speeches or at their 21st birthdays. By the end of the evening, we were both howling with laughter.
Make no mistake, my friend can’t wait for her husband to come home to share the load, but at least she can now laugh in the face of disaster and that makes it all better doesn’t it! 😊