About 10 years ago my husband and I were driving to our new home. We were getting ready to move in and packing up the house we had been renting in Queens. All of a sudden I had a thought and just started to laugh hysterically.
“Why are you laughing?” my husband said, starting to laugh himself.
“Well, I was just thinking. You know how when something bad happens in your life, and you say to yourself, ‘Well, it could be worse. I could be so-and-so.’ You do realize that everyone who got laid off in your office is saying to themselves today, ‘It could be worse. I could be Joe and his wife!'”
Then we both just started hysterically laughing.
We had just bought our first house; we had a two-and-half-year-old son; and I was five months pregnant with our daughter.
Five days after we closed on a $300,000 mortgage, my husband was painting the bedrooms so we could move in. Then his boss called at 9:00 p.m.
The bursting of the dot.com bubble was taking a toll on the publishing business, and my husband’s company decided it was time to cut back. The cutbacks consisted of the head of the online business and 30 employees, including my husband’s boss and, of course, my husband.
Most people would not be laughing at this point in life, and trust me, I had many, many sleepless nights and panicked days. But, as serious as it was, it was almost comical that this was happening.
It took us eight years to save for a house because we wanted to be completely prepared for the purchase. Because, as we were famous for saying, you never know, you could buy a house one day and lose your job the next!
The dark humor in the situation was just too much. Even in my most panicked state, I had to admit it was funny. I kept thinking of the phrase, “We plan, God laughs.”
I don’t believe that God sits up in heaven and says, “Gee. Kathy and Joe have planned out everything so nicely. They are expecting their second child. They just bought the house. Good for them. You know, it’s a little boring, why don’t I just yank the rug from underneath them and see what they do.”
But, life sure does have a way of twisting and turning. For me, it helps to believe that when I have a strong fear or feeling about something, it is my way of saying to God or the universe, this is something I need to work on.
Now my husband thinks my feelings are crazy when it comes to this issue. As he sees it, life is random, and faith is there to help you ride it out.
Even though we view things differently, we were able to weather the storm together. We had some savings left, and my husband’s skills as a writer meant he could freelance while looking for a new job. Plus, we’re fortunate to have great parents and strong family support.
At times, we panicked and said, “Why us?” But most times, we saw what we needed to do and did it, and we laughed…a lot more than we cried.
I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but the experience of living through one of your worst fears is a powerful gift. And I think it’s one of the best gifts we can pass on to our kids.
How to survive when the world seems to be caving in on you is a gift my husband and I received from our own parents.
Their lessons and strength had to be in both of us when we suffered miscarriage after miscarriage, when Joe lost his job, and today when we deal with a child with very serious, life-altering disabilities.
I am grateful for the ability to laugh and for marrying a man with the same offbeat sense of humor.
I sincerely hope that it’s the one real gift we leave to our own precious children. Unlike money and possessions, the gift of survival and humor in the face of adversity is a gift no one can take from us. And, it’s recession proof.
Thanks for sharing this post, it’s very inspiring!
The Nerd Mom says
OMG, you guys sound a lot like us. When I was 9mos preg w/baby #2, hubby was working in the telecom industry. We found out he was being laid off a few weeks before I was to deliver. I hadn’t worked at all in about 2 yrs (I’m a CPA). He comes home and says, “I think I’d like to start my own business.” Excuse me, what??
Long story short – I went back to work temporarily, and the business he started 9 yrs ago is viable and paying the bills and I’m home once more w/the kiddos.
You do what you have to do to get by. We laugh now about how crazy a risk it was back when we were “young and stupid.” But it makes you realize you’ll be ok come hell or high water!
What is it with the second babies!! Lol! It is true you do what you have to do “come hell or high water!” I love that phrase too! Thanks so much for sharing!
What a great post. It is a joy and filling of fulfillment when you can laugh in those dark days and have someone so perfect to share it with. God wants us to prosper and depend on Him. I have learned that planning is good but sometimes things just can’t be planned.
Hi – wanted to let you know I (finally!) passed on the stylish award to others. You can read my post here
Thanks again for giving it to me!
That was a wonderful and
very truthful Post.Of course I am crying as I always do when I read what you have written. Much Love Mom
Life Lessons, Halfway Through says
Oh, my, you really do have to keep laughing. We’ve had similar challenges. Life seems really hard these days–much harder than I expected. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog.
Good story! You know, I think in tough situations you use whatever means is necessary to get through it – humor is one very strong tool.
When my parents were buying their forever house (still in it), my dad got layed off the day before closing and they didn’t tell the bank! They had 3 kids under 6 and me on-the-way! He drove a school bus, a milk truck and did whatever he needed to do.
And we just went through a closing that fell apart and have been carrying 2 mortgages since July. We’re getting through thanks to my hub working endless overtime and me not shopping too – well except for my load on my day out! Yes, we have been laughing and saying our thanks anyway.
And if our closing hadn’t fallen apart, our house would not have been available for another family whose closing fell apart and they had no place to live! God works in mysterious ways!
Land of shimp says
Oh the times we do survive and then get to look back over our shoulders at them in the past. It’s an amazing thing, to be able to stare in wonder at your own past and realize, “Wow, we got through that.”
I’m so glad you did, with your sense of humor intact, no less 🙂 Lucky couples have a thing that few ever talk about, but it is one the greatest things to have: When times get rough, they pull together rather than apart. It forges something and like you and your husband, my husband and I tend to do it with laughter, and plenty of gallows humor.
You never know if you have that relationship until it’s tested and you find out that you do. Three months after we were married, my husband was working for a company that became insolvent. Hairy times those. We rollerbladed together when he wasn’t looking for a job and we made lots of inappropriate jokes. A year later, his dad was killed in a car accident. Six months after that, his thirty-five year old best friend collapsed and died while skiing. A month after that, our three year old dog was diagnosed with untreatable lymphoma.
I turned to him at one point and said, “Hey baby, sorry I’m such bad luck. But at least I can cook.”
And we laughed until we cried because we were laughing so hard.
Just saying, I got this post. I really got it 🙂
Here’s to laughter and to looking over our shoulders at the problems that are now behind us, eh?
Lovely to see your funny words.
Susie B. Homemaker says
Oh so true- being able to laugh in a stressful situation is definitely a great coping skill/gift to have. You guys endured a tough time and made it thru to blog about it. 😉
Thank everyone for sharing their own experinces with this! It is amazing how we all survive, and such a gift if we can laugh about it. I can’t tell you how much your support means to me. Thank you all for reading and posting!
Seams Inspired says
Life is a roller coaster ride and it’s great that you can find something to laugh about. Your family sounds like mine. In the face of adversity laughter is the the best medicine.
An Irish Italian Blessing says
The positive attitude you display when these things happen is exactly why I LOVE reading your blog. Your attitude has so much to do with how you’re able to handle these tough situations.
The day my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, I was laid off…THE SAME DAY! I had been employed with this company for 5 years and the minute I thought we were secure enough to start our family, I lost it. Turned out to be the BEST thing that ever happened to me.
My ABSOLUTE favorite scripture, Proverbs 3:5-6 says this:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Gotta love how even though we don’t know His plan, He does, and we just have to have faith that HE will guide us.
Sounds like that’s exactly what he did for you!
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How positively you embrace life! Of course, the alternative is not nearly as inspiring… Thanks for a great post. I discovered you on Meagan Frank’s blog.
Survival via humor and faith. There is honestly NO other way to navigate life. Well, actually, there are lots of other ways to navigate life, but they just don’t work as well. You and your husband are a wonderful example for your children…and for the rest of us too!
Those last two paragraphs… nail on the head 🙂
I completely agree 100%. This is a great post!
It amazes me how many of us found ourselves in similar postions at times in our lives when we thought we had everything “set”. It just seems to further drive home the point to me that security is an internal feeing as much as money in the bank! Thank you all for sharing! And, thank you so much for the support, it really means so much to me!
Written so wonderfully. And I definitely agree with your last paragraph.
Samantha Sotto-Yambao says
I adore this post! Truly inspiring! I admire your attitude towards adversity. I agree 100% that survival and humor are the best things we can pass on to our children. We can’t promise them a life without challenges or heartache, but we can equip them with the strength to face them 😀 Have a great weekend! (oh, and give my regards to Damien 😉 )
Shannon Pritchard says
You are so much like me. I am constantly laughing at my situation and taking pride in the smallest victories and everything we go through seems to make us stronger as a family. We will survive and we have it so much better than most people even with all of our problems and fears of the unknown. Thank you for following my families story, I will be following yours. I wish you lived in WA, we have so much in common we could be great friends
Adriana Iris says
So glad we found each other…
Thank you all for reading and posting! It’s nice to make some new blog friends and find some great new blogs!
Samantha, thank you for asking about “Damien”! Perhaps the dishes will be extra clean this week! Lol!!
I think it’s great that you were able to laugh while you were going through such rough times — I need to remember to laugh more.
Letters From Home says
I just got laid off from my job in January and the crazy thing is that it’s been one of the best things that happened to me. Life is funny when it throws out these curve balls!
Mel~ @ Lifestwistedstitches.com says
I love love love your perspective on life, your buoyancy, and most of all the relationship you have with your husband. I’m envious really…
I need your perspective in my life.