You weren’t the first one to say your husband’s mother looked like an orangutan.
When your husband first saw the resemblance you replied, “Your mother is a beautiful woman.” And you went on with your business, refereeing yet another disagreement between your little ones.
Your husband, The Big Ape, said, “You have no sense of humor.”
Weeks later you read that same magazine to your toddler. And there she was, staring at you from the page -- Mama Orangutan -- with your mother-in-law’s brown almond eyes. Mama Orang also had Mother’s asymmetrical nose (from a mini stroke). There was even something about the mouth (maybe her pensive expression), that reminded you of your mother-in-law.
Yep, it was her all right. Why hadn’t you noticed it the day before when you read that entire magazine until your throat was dry and sore?
And why was she staring at you like that? What did I do now? you wondered.
If your mother-in-law is an orangutan, maybe that’s why your house always looks like a jungle -- and your kids act like a troop of monkeys.
Like the time Monkey Teen tried to teach Monkey Boy how to climb the walls, literally. Luckily Monkey Boy’s legs were too short to reach all the way across the narrow back hallway. He couldn’t maneuver his way up high enough to touch the ceiling.
But Monkey Boy can shimmy his way up the door frame, can’t he?
What can you do but laugh -- and spot him, and put down a gym mat or other soft groundcover near his favorite climbing spots?
You do have a sense of humor. You just don’t laugh at things that are overly mean, or crude, or offensive, or…
Remember the time your hormonal Monkey Tween urged the little ones to act out “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed?”
After making sure there weren’t any broken bones or concussions, and many comforting hugs, you snickered. -- Until you discovered that they’d popped your waterbed.
But you needed a new bed for your aging back anyway.
It’s all amusing in hindsight, right?
Like the time the twins, Monkey See and Monkey Do, made beautiful music on your brand new piano -- with croquet balls.
And your Monkey Toddler makes you laugh out loud. Not long ago he was playing basketball in creative movement class. You chuckled when he picked up the bean bags and slam-dunked them into the basketball hoop -- while towering over it.
“Buddy, you’re supposed to stand back here,” you said. So he stood there, looking confused.
“You’re supposed to throw the bean bags into the basket from here,” you explained. So he picked them up again and walked back to the shooting line. He bent his little arms back behind his head, and then hurled them towards the hoop – all three of them at the same time. They plopped to the ground near the hoop.
“You’re supposed to throw them one at a time,” you explained -- once you stopped giggling.
And let’s not forget Monkey Girl. She has her moments, too. Like when she called your cooling rack “the cookie burner” -- just because you overcooked one batch of cookies, and the meatloaf, and then there was the pretzel incident…
Or what about the time she mentioned learning about Hanukah in school, but she called it “Harmonica?”
Or how about when Monkey Tween made her First Holy Communion and Monkey Girl asked, “When will I get to try one of those ‘Holy Spirit chips’?”
You laugh at the adorable things your monkey troop does. And God is there when you want to cry, too.
And then one day, between trips to the bathroom to throw up, you figured it out. -- Maybe Mama Orangutan was trying to tell you to slow down.
How exactly do you do that with seven kids? Mama Orang didn’t say.
But you laughed with joy that night when the pregnancy test came back positive.
And you laughed a few weeks later when you found out that Monkey Baby was actually Monkey Babies -- three of them!
The Big Ape, your old silverback, laughed, too -- all the way to the poor house.
But let’s face it, with a big family, or even with none at all, sometimes, lots of times, you’ve just got to laugh. –- And laughing at your self, and with the other monkeys in your life, is a lot better than going bananas.
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