When our first child was diagnosed with developmental delays we didn’t know what hit us. We’d gone from having a perfectly healthy 8 month only child to one that was in 7 therapy appointments and “at risk” as defined by the state’s early intervention program.
Those were not fun times. While we were still acting as a regular family, we were focusing on getting used to our new normal. Which turned out to be not very easy. It did happen eventually and we were happy again.
But we didn’t know what we didn’t know.
A little over a year later we were faced with our new baby’s diagnosis of a life-threatening kidney disease and 3 months later our son’s diagnosis came. It was not a happy time in our house. In fact, I clearly remember doing anything but laughing or having fun…for a very long time.
That was the year I refer to as “The Fog” and I remember it well. Back then, before I was blogging at Kidneys and Eyes to release some of the pain and hurt and experience, I would send out batch emails to close family and friends to give them updates. Those emails were excruciating to send because I didn’t want to sound too depressing, but honestly? Things were depressing around our house. We were still getting our special needs parents legs firmly planted on the ground. So while I was kind of pretending to be okay, things became okay. It was a “fake it til you make it” kind of thing.
During that time my beloved and I would test out our funny bone on each other. We’d say something totally inappropriate outside the walls of our brick ranch home and slowly but surely we started to believe. We started to believe in humor again. It didn’t happen all at once; it slowly crept back into our lives.
Over the years as we cried about the progressing symptoms of kidney failure, developmental delays and bad reports all around us, we learned that we could laugh. I remember the night when I got a call on my cellphone telling me it was time to get our son in to talk about a kidney transplant; his lab numbers had taken a turn for the worse and stayed there. When I got home my husband took one look at me and he knew something was wrong.
The kids were eating dinner at the kitchen counter and while I was crying they were screaming for milk (or goldfish or yogurt) and we were both trying to hid our tears. I am fairly certain I sighed heavily and rolled my eyes because the kids have the audacity to ask for more to eat or drink and I said something like, “Ugh! We can’t even talk for one minute about dialysis and kidney failure!” My husband looked up at me and said, “What, don’t you think mortality and milk mix well?”
I agree, it’s not THAT funny, but it did come at a good time. We talked about how life just keeps moving on; the kids still have to eat. So, we just moved on through two kidney transplants (mixed in with dialysis, depression, mental health issues and trauma) and here we are, trying to get ready for the next crisis (which we know will always come).
Sometimes we make fun of our life and our kids to left off steam. Sometimes it’s because we need a laugh. Sometimes it is because some of the things they do because of their disabilities are really funny. Sometimes it is because if we didn’t we would cry.
I like to make fun of what we say and I chronicle it on my blog by titling certain posts with “Spoken in the Mutant Family Household” because it’s my way of embracing our inner (inappropriate) funniness (Sometimes about the kids! And their disease!) and our outward mutantness.
There’s hardly a better way to live this life than to laugh at it and that includes laughing with (and at) my mutant children. I have to admit some days it is the only way we can live this life.
Does humor get your through the day sometimes?