With the long three-day weekend drawing to a close this past
Monday night, I found myself giving into the kids' demands way too
easily. When 7-year old Jack refused my selection for his Black
History Month project (Toni Morrison), I surrendered. Jack had
already decided on the person he was going to highlight:
Who am I to convince the kid to choose a Nobel and Pulitzer
Prize winning novelist instead? Jack felt that the NFL's all-time
leading touchdown returner was far more interesting and worthy of
second-grade adulation than "some writer."
Jack also believes that Devin Hester should run for president,
visit his school, and coach him once he makes it into the NFL.
Defeated, I next tried to convince my husband to turn off the
television. Joe had spent several rapt hours on Monday night
enjoying a marathon special about crocodiles. The footage was
Crocodiles eating lions.
Crocodiles eating boats.
Crocodiles eating crocodiles.
Joe was astounded that I was not at all interested in how long
crocodiles can live, or how the temperature of a crocodiles' nest
determines the sex of its babies.
Sometimes I wonder if Joe remembers that I am a girl.
With my powers of persuasion completely out of whack, I headed
upstairs for bed. Joe promised he'd be up as soon as the show
finished its next segment on crocodiles eating zebras.
Alone with our bedroom television remote, I flipped through
several channels. Nothing captured my attention. I half-heartedly
eyed my stack of back issues of People Magazine and US Weekly. They
had been given to me by my mom, but I just never seemed to find the
time to enjoy them.
I knew immediately the reasons for my funk. With the dismantling
of the Christmas tree came a simultaneous dismantling of optimism
and hope for a better world. There was nothing truly wrong. There
were no villains or tragedies. No added burdens or losses. There
was only an overwhelming sense that sunny, happy days were woefully
out of reach.
Experts would suggest that I find the nearest happy lamp, eat
some red peppers and do some yoga. But seasonal affective disorder
zaps one's desire to get off the couch, take a shower, or comb
So on Monday night, I moped back downstairs to find my husband.
Joe smiled and made room for me on the couch while passing a bowl
of popcorn. Watching crocodiles attack always gives Joe the
This fellow I'm married to has seen me through many seasons. I
am a boundless pillar of happiness and optimism in the summer. I am
also a defeated, pessimistic slug each winter. Joe patiently
endures his changing wife and promises that we will move to a
warm-weather state once he retires.
Yet before completing this assurance, Joe's attention turned
back to the television as he excitedly explained, "They're going to
have crocodiles eating ANTELOPE next!"
Some days you are the crocodile, and other days you are the
antelope. But either way, it is always a good idea to stay close to
your happy lamp.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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