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Shortly after my daughter was born I spent long afternoons in shudders of sobs and laughter.
This was in the year 2000 before I could have entertained myself in front of this here screen for the better part of a day, so I parked my mushy butt in front of the great grandmother of all mommy blogs, the Neanderthal of reality TV, the ancient TLC. I would watch the hypnotic loop of The Baby Story followed by The Wedding Story followed by The Baby Story laughing and crying all the way.
I laughed at The Baby Story because most of these innocent, self-assured first-time mothers were about to give birth to an experience that was unlike anything they had ordered up, so contrary to their expectations, and so screamingly off-script. Then I bawled every time the baby was lifted up into their arms.
I cried at The Wedding Story because the goosepimply sense of romantic destiny, the adoration and most of all, friendship described by these couples was so unlike anything I experienced in my own marriage, either time. Neither time had I married what I would call “my best friend.” My best friend was back in Texas and if I called her and said I had a flat tire in the pouring rain on the 405 Freeway, she would have climbed on a plane with two umbrellas and a jack. If I had reached either one of my h-u-s-b-a-n-d-s, they would have said, “Call Triple A.” There are friends, and then there are advisors. My h-u-s-b-a-n-d Ned is not my most reliable friend, but he is my most consistent advisor.
By the time the happy couple on TV was drunk and dancing at the reception, by the time the wedding gown was stained and stepped on, the up-do coming undone, I would be laughing again.
We’d all better be laughing again, and soon.
Tears give way to laughter, laughter to tears. Marriage, motherhood, life, keeps handing us the opportunity to give ourselves away, and that’s how we become our own best friend and advisor. We marry ourselves for life, and we join Triple A. Everyone else who comes into the picture is there for laughs. The laughs always begin amid the tears.
Join me for more fun with marriage all week. And just for grins, here’s your chance to win an autographed copy of my book, Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by leaving a comment here. The winner will be drawn after 12 noon PST on Sunday, Feb. 3. Domestic addresses only. Make sure your comment links to your own blog or contains your email address so I can contact you when you win. Good luck!