What you said and what I heard

The shower was running full blast and I was basking in the steam when someone opened the bathroom door and hollered, "Whose thing is that in the laundry room?"

First, unless said thing is alive or dangerous, can't it wait until I'm done luxuriating in the shower?  Second, when you are in the shower with the water running over your head and past your ears, your hearing is compromised.  Slightly frustrated I asked, "What thing?"

"The grey breast-feeding thing with two boobs on it."

"What?" I yelled back certain this was his warped sense of humour at work.

The grey breast-feeding thing with two boobs on it."

I was befuddled and becoming irritated.  I had no clue what he was talking about.  If this was his idea of a joke, it was a bad one.  I wanted him to get lost and leave me alone.  But being naturally curious, it was really hard for me to relax once I began to wonder what it was all about.

Within minutes I was dried, fully-clothed, perturbed, and in the laundry room tracking down the grey, breast-feeding thing with two boobs on it.   There was no need to hunt for long.  It sat in a wrinkled heap on the counter, a grey linen sling with two hoops.
Yes sir.  That's what was so almighty important that someone had to interrupt my shower to ask about it.  Nothing to do with breast-feeding and nothing to do with boobs.  Now to be fair.  We have little people visiting regularly who are breast-fed, and their mums use a variety of ingenious coverups.  So the fact that he thought the linen cloth had something to do with breast-feeding wasn't too far off the mark.  But the rest of it was outrageous.  Two boobs on it.  Honestly, you'd think he was in seventh grade or something.  Those were the unkind thoughts roaring through my head.

I picked up the sling with all the indignation I could muster and marched right out to the living room where he was sitting completely relaxed.  You see, he had off-loaded his problem.  Something had been left behind the night before when we had nineteen guests, but it was okay - Joy would figure it out.  He no longer had a care in the world.  But he was about to have another.  I was going to give it to him.

"Is this what you were hollering about?"

"Yes.  Someone must have left it.  I don't know whose it is."

Red alert.  Someone left something at our house.  That never happens.  It was definitely serious enough to warrant interrupting my shower, said no woman ever, especially a woman who believes her husband is acting like a juvenile.

"It's not a breast-feeding thing.  It's a sling for carrying AJM.  And - it doesn't have two boobs on it."

The look on his face was a classic mixture of shock and has she lost her freaking mind.  The protest came out of his mouth, rapid-fire, "I never said anything about boobs.  I said it had two hoops."

After catching my breath from the surprise, laughter erupted.   It kept coming and the tears rolled down my cheeks.

Laughter is good for the soul.  I like laughing and if I laugh hard enough it feels as if I have managed to exercise too.  Sometimes I laugh when I'm alone which seems a bit weird, but if the scene is good enough or the words are funny, it just happens.   We send each other messages with LOL just so all involved know we laughed.  I wonder why it matters that someone else knows I laughed even though they can't hear or see it.

My guess is it matters because more often our communications cause us distress instead of laughter.  We agonize about how to say things that need to be said in a way that won't hurt others.  We struggle with being honest without being harsh.  We understand there are times when we just need to shut up.  Yet even our silence is a communication and it isn't always the good or safe or right approach.  Understanding each other is hard work and it's messy.
AMJ snug in her sling
What you said and what I heard is a communication minefield at best.  I think laughter is a release valve in communication.  When we've really messed it all up and misunderstood, apologies are a good idea.  But so is a good laugh at ourselves and our humanness.  There is humility and healing in being able to laugh at our ourselves together.  Laughter takes us away from the self-flagellation we gravitate to when we mess up and puts us in the arena of life and relationships, sucking oxygen and fighting to understand what's really important.  Keep laughing, it is good for the soul.


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