I often tell mothers that in dealing with parenthood, we have to laugh at a situation instead of crying over it. If you find yourself getting upset or angry over a situation, always remember it could be worse and try to laugh. I find myself laughing at a range of incidents with my four children.
I had just pulled out of the store parking lot and I reminded my daughter to put her drink in the cup holder, when it happened... a spilled cherry slush all over the car and my mother-in-law looking terrified by what just happened! I could do nothing but laugh at the scenario and how hard it would be to get the red color out of my carpet. My mother-in-law looked at me with amazement at how calm I was. But I told her we have to laugh. What's the worst that can happen? I have to clean it up.
Another example: If you're a parent of multiple children, you know that if one child gets the stomach virus, eventually, the whole house will get the stomach virus. As I changed my bedroom sheets twice after the inevitable 3 a.m. vomit sessions, I realized I had no more clean sheets. We rolled into an old throw blanket and laughed ourselves to sleep resting on top of a mattress. What's the worse case here? Losing out on a good night's sleep?
The previous are examples of laughing matters, but in 2007 we had a situation when I just couldn't stop the tears from coming. Many know how supportive we are of the Therapeutic Nursery at Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. Not only because of its amazing work with children with a variety of developmental challenges, but because of the amazing work they did with our daughter Jaden.
Our first child, Carsten, was the typical child at each checkup, hitting all the milestones and even advanced for his age. We knew we wanted to continue our family, and our second child, Jaden, was born in 2005. In 2007, I attended San Francisco State University to receive my B.A. I was able to put both Jaden and Carsten in pre-K on campus. I was receiving my degree and my children were attending an amazing preschool; it was a win-win in my book. After two months into the program, Jaden's teacher (coincidently named Amber) reached out to me. That is when the diagnosis journey began.
As soon as I got off the phone, I began to cry. I knew exactly why I was being called in. As a parent, I was in denial. I knew at 18 months that I started seeing the signs that Jaden was not developing like Carsten.
But that was a wakeup call to stop denying and begin getting the best services for our daughter. If there's something I can do to make Jaden's life easier, I have to do it! I don't think I've cried more than I did at the meeting where Ms. Amber told us she saw differences in Jaden.
When the teacher recommended Jaden get evaluated by a developmental pediatrician, I blurted out "autism" and began to sob. She nodded and said a developmental pediatrician would help.
The following week, I flew to New York to meet CC for a road trip. I told him about the meeting and possible diagnosis while sobbing, but his reply was simple: "It could be much worse." I could do nothing but laugh because I realized he was reminding me of something I had taught him. It's just a diagnosis that doesn't change the way we laugh as a family. It's a diagnosis that now pushes me on a different route of an amazing journey.
Jaden was diagnosed with expressive and receptive language delay. She is now 8 years old, with two brothers and a sister, and we find ourselves laughing every day at the same situations that might otherwise be stressful or upsetting.
When we're at that moment of stress, anxiety, anger and many more emotions we cross as parents... we remind ourselves of our motto: "You have to laugh from crying!"
Amber is a mother of four, executive director and co-founder of PitCCh In Foundation and creator/designer of CCandy. Follow Amber on twitter and Instagram @AmberSabathia. Visit AmberSabathia.com, CCandyClothing.com, and PitCCh.org.
First seen in 201 Magazine