Fork in the road moments: laugh or cry {the one where I make you feel better about your life}

Sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh.

There are moments in life when the road is gonna fork, and we will be forced to look down the path and see two very possible routes.  One route being hysteria from tears and, “Are you kidding me is this really where I am in life?!?”  The other being hysteria from laughter and, “Are you kidding me is this really where I am in life?!?”  We have a choice, and we can choose either path to get us to the finish line of life, but one path will clearly be more fun than the other.

I choose the later option.

This all started when our friends texted a few months ago and said they ordered us tickets to see Dave Matthews in July.  My first thought was, I know two Dave Matthews’ songs and all the rest sound exactly the same to me.  My second thought was, seriously, a mid-week late night concert, ohforthelove this gonna be rough.  I fought my natural late 30’s instinct, which always errs on the side of lameness, and we agreed to be adventurous and go.

It turned out the concert fell on the same day as summer camp drop off for the girls.  Of course it did.  Thanks a lot Dave Matthews.  This welcomed in a slew of carpooling dilemmas, scheduling conflicts, and “I can’t believe you are not going to drop me off at my first overnight camp because you’re going to a concert instead.” Okay the girls never really said that, but make no mistake, the mommy guilt was screaming accusations in my head and they didn’t have to say it because I was saying it for them.  I am awesome at mentally shaming myself on behalf of my children when I feel guilt…I’m like an expert at it.

But miracles still happen even today, all children were dropped off at camp or with a babysitter, and I began wondering what I should wear to the concert.  What do you wear to concerts these days?  Who knows, I haven’t been to one in 12 years, so I googled it (exhibit A that proves I am too old to be attending concerts: I googled “What to wear to a Dave Matthews Concert”).  Then I remembered I still owned my old-school Vans from high school.  Score.  I have never been so excited in my entire life.  I have faithfully held onto these shoes for 20 years, and it was about to pay off in a major way (exhibit B that proves I am too old to be attending concerts: I was excited about dusting off a 20 year old pair of shoes and wearing them).

Now that the clothing dilemma was solved, it was time to mentally prepare for staying up past 9:30 pm (exhibit C that proves I am too old to be attending concerts: they take place past my bedtime).  I realize caffeine is not the usual Dave Matthews Concert pre-gaming drug of choice, but coffee was all this girl needed (exhibit D that proves I am too old to be attending concerts: I pre-game with coffee).  While sipping this delightful cup of joe in a quiet house, it occurred to me that we would be driving our friends to the concert and my vehicle has suspiciously smelled like a dumpster for the past few months (exhibit E that proves I am too old to be attending concerts: it occurs to me I should tidy up the car before we leave, and take out all the kid’s carseats to see what might be lurking underneath).

I called Kev at work who was frantically trying to finish up so we could get on the road, and asked if he would mind taking my car to be cleaned.  This request is not as innocent as it sounds, as there’s a backstory.  Kev has been repulsed by my car for 2 months now.  Every time he gets in he complains about the dumpster smell, and then proceeds to makes ridiculous and haughty claims about how his car is always clean and orderly and free of an entire Chick-fil-A kid’s meal on the floor board.

Well good for him.

To which I always follow-up in response with, “The day you’re the one homeschooling this circus of a family, carpooling 19 kids to and from 47 soccer and swim practices a week, and feeding meals to an army of cleat-wearing children in the back seat of your car, you can complain to me about the smell.”

In my defense, I had genuinely tried to solve the mystery of the smell.  Many o’ times had I climbed under seats fully expecting to find a sippy cup full of fermenting spoiled milk, ripening in the trapped summer heat of my vehicle (tell me that’s not the worst), and could never find anything but a few waffle fries, empty candy wrappers, and an open container of Chick-fil-A sauce (side note: the creation of the Chick-fil-A sauce rivals the creation of man in awesomeness, and I struggle even getting mad at my kids for finding it opened in my car because it’s so good, it just makes me proud they love it).  Anyways, what more could he ask of me?  I had given it a half-hearted search and not turned up much.  And besides, I was starting to get used to the smell, it honestly didn’t even bother me much anymore.  Filth had become my new normal.

Note to self: When filth becomes your new normal, it’s time to re-evaluate your life.

Because Kevin loves me, he agreed to rush home even earlier to take my car to be cleaned.  If I only knew then, what I know now, the rest of this story would have ended very differently.  This is the moment where God was watching in heaven and He was telling the cloud of witnesses, “Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it….this is about to get soooo good.”

While proudly sipping coffee in my 20 year old Vans, excited about a crazy night out where we stay up past 9:30, I receive this text from my husband:Now.  My husband speaks in fluent sarcasm, and I have never prayed harder that this was one of those times where he was shamelessly messing with me.  But at this same moment, I was also vaguely remembering a day when Ella said, “I think I just saw something move in the backseat.”  I of course told her she had lost her mind and to hurry up already and get in the car because we were late, but it was starting to appear the only crazy in the family was yours truly who had allowed her life to become so out of control that there was a dead rodent decaying in her backseat (and for the record, that’s worse than a fermenting sippy cup of milk).  The texting insults continued….

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Enter in that aforementioned fork in the road.  We all choices to make in this life.  Learning you have become that family who just might have a shot on a reality TV show that ends with an intervention, would send most people down the path of tears.

But I’m choosing laughter.  I informed Kev, “Ya know, this is real life baby and sometimes you end up with dead rodents in your car.  But at least my kids have been fed and made it to soccer practice on time. I don’t think I’m even embarrassed.”

Without hesitation or tact of any kind, he responded, “That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard, and you should be embarrassed.”

He’s probably right, but I’m still choosing laughter anyways.

After all the “mouse dust” had settled (pun intended), the concert was a great time.  I was a little disappointed Dave didn’t play either of the two songs I knew, the one about the ants, and the other one about crashing (obviously), but we did capture a selfie to send to Matt Lauer on the Today Show.  I think I’m supposed to be hashtagging it something like #loveyourselfie, but I really just feel like it should be hashtagged something like #wemadeittotheconcertanddidn’tgettheplague.

That would be more appropriate.  Fork in the road baby, laugh or cry.


Amy Heywood