Hello, Suzie Sunshine: Why Laughter & Light Are the Only Policies for This Single Mom by Tammy Minnoe
A common phrase in my world is "Let me Suzie this for you." Suzie Sunshine has taken on her own persona in my life. I refer to her when things get rough or sad or frustrating. I muster her up when a friend, family member or even complete stranger needs a little ray of sunshine. It's not easy and it does catch up to me sometimes. Suzie is not widely accepted and definitely receives a bit of criticism, but she is necessary in this mom's life.
Last week I sat in the high school guidance office for the millionth time on behalf of my oldest son. We were both fuming that we were there. I'm not sure why he was upset. He brought this on himself by just not going to school daily. I have a child that is very intelligent. He is charismatic and very well liked. We make each other laugh even when it is not our intention. However, this kid refuses to go to school.
I have motivated him, punished him, love him more if possible, taken things away, brought him to medical doctors and therapists, you name it. Nothing has worked. Nothing is found to be actually wrong with him other than laziness and lack of challenge at school. I am riddled with anxiety every day about him and school. It makes me crazy, but I can't give in to crazy. I still have to function and go to work. So, I Suzie things to find the laughter or to just feel good to get through the day.
One time I was screaming at him in the morning to get his lazy butt to school and told him that I was the one who would get in trouble for his truancy. I picked up an orange shirt that I found on the floor of his messy bedroom and held it up to my ivory complexion stating that I would look horrible in orange and, pointing to my eyes, told him with these baby blues I would definitely become someone's "special friend" in prison. Of course, I said the "B Word" in my stellar parenting moment. I was literally screaming this. It was kind of impossible not to laugh at that.
My son and I sing together as if we have been performing as the opener to well-known celebrities for years. We watch Disney movies laughing and singing along. Our favorite is the High School Musical movies. You know those movies that had 40-something-year-old moms admitting to having a crush on Troy Bolton played by Zac Efron. This brings me back to the guidance office last week. As my son and I sit there waiting to be called into a meeting with his guidance counselor, we are listening to the morning announcements over the high school loudspeaker. I hear they are having auditions in the Theater\Drama department for … High School Musical!!! Yes!
All of a sudden my son was not the troublemaker stress inducer that I walked in with. He was Troy Bolton. Ahh, yes! We both look at each other in that moment acknowledging this is the reason we were here. We were meant to hear that announcement. Surely, I could play Ms. Darbus, the drama teacher at East High! My son is a shoe in for Troy Bolton in our eyes. And just like that, the anger and frustration of our guidance meeting subsided. We Suzied ourselves. You know what? We walked into that meeting with smiles on our faces and positive feelings to figure out the mess we are in. We had a good outcome. We shared a little Suzie with the guidance counselor. Laughter is a policy we can all adhere to.
As I mentioned, Suzie is not widely accepted and has been slapped with criticism. A lot of people can't understand how I can laugh my way through some pretty serious situations. I have been told that I am not dealing with the situation at hand. I understand their feelings and respect them.
In my defense, I lived in a volatile home for many years. It was debilitating to say the least. In order to keep a strong mind, I found reasons to smile. I had to remind myself daily that I was a good person. I told myself I was intelligent. I told myself that I was a good parent. I listened to music that would lift me rather than crush me. I watched TV shows that made me laugh. So, while I do deal with my serious situations, I do it in a way that helps keep my head above water. I can find and share the humor in it while still addressing the problem at hand. It's just how I am built and how I survive.
We all deal with things the best we can. We all have our own way of dealing with ups and downs. For me it's finding my inner Suzie and shedding light over the darkness.
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