Laughing through misfortune: Don’t cry over spilled drinks or broken plates

Laughing over spilled drinks.

Laughing over spilled drinks.

My daughter’s birthday is Christmas Eve. This means a lifetime of both (a) feeling a little special, and (b) being cheated out of a full day dedicated to her birthday and her birthday alone.

When she was a child, we had big, fun family gatherings for her birthday. She thought that was great. But when she became a teenager, she realized what a difference a date makes. “Hey, wait a minute,” she began to say to herself. “My friends get to do birthday dinners with friends and go to movies on their actual birthday. On my birthday, everyone is doing family stuff.”

Last year we realized that, as a result of all that “family stuff” we do at Christmas, she had never had a birthday lunch or dinner out at a restaurant on her actual birthday in her whole life. We resolved to fix that.

We chose the restaurant—one that was newly opened and about which we had heard good things. We appeared on the day, happy-happy. We ordered drinks to start. She and her brother ordered iced tea. My husband and I ordered beer. When the server came to the table, she set the iced tea down. The imbalance made her tray wobble, and she spilled an entire very large, very cold beer all over my daughter. It made a spectacular mess.

So much for a special birthday lunch.

The next day, we hosted Christmas dinner at our house—a lovely turkey meal with my family and our neighbours. At the end of the meal we stacked up the plates. I picked up the pile and turned to head toward the kitchen. One hand caught on the edge of a chair and the entire stack of plates flew out of my hands and smashed into thousands of pieces. It made a spectacular mess.

A shattering end to a Christmas celebration.

Two unfortunate circumstances. No one died or was permanently injured, so not tragedies. But they are the kind of circumstances that make you want a do-over. An opportunity to rewind life like a VHS tape to the point just before the event and then to alter the outcome. Alas, all we can do in such situations is shrug and acknowledge that things didn’t go according to plan. Let it go.

Given the back-to-back mishaps in our family last year, I’m hoping we bought ourselves a reprieve for 2015. But if my plans go awry, I’ll try to shrug and let it go. And in all the many holiday gatherings going on around the world this time of year, some things are not going to go according to plan. I hope people will be able to shrug and let it go.

Laugh through the misfortune and move onHappy Holidays.c10148




About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on December 22, 2015, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, Christmas stories, How do you define success?, Inspiration, life, Living life to the fullest and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Letting go is a challenge but, grasping the precious moments and holding them close to our hearts is the way to go forward in our lives. Thank you for this inspiring post.

  2. Merry Christmas

  3. My car broke down and one of my businesses was broken into and robbed. I just shrugged and felt thankful to have a car and a business worth robbing. No one was injured in either case. There is still soooo much to be thankful for. Thanks for reminding us.

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