My husband was off on a business trip and of course, two hours after he left the house, the toilet got clogged with an orange, the ladder to a son's bunk bed broke (thank goodness no body parts were injured as that was happening) the internet box died, and then a bottle of dishwasher soap called "Joy" had apparently been poured into the dishwasher. I was fixing the toilet (clogged with "stuff"-- why must someone use the toilet for an intestinal discharge when it's plugged?) and one of the kids banged on the door. I screeched that I was busy and that they needed to be in bed, then was met with pleading, "You have to come out now. There is Joy in the dishwasher." (This was code for, "And bubbles are coming out all over the place.")
I had been having a hee-hee, crappy day up to that point, but hearing that there was Joy in my dishwasher made me start laughing. "So that's where it is!" I took off my rubber apron and washed my hands, only to discover that the person reporting had not turned it off and bubbles were flowing all over the floor. I started singing, "There is Joy in my dishwasher and Joy in my kitchen! Look how Joy overflows! Wheeeeee!"
The kids had been sleeping but they all came in and when I looked up from blowing mounds of bubbles into the air, they realized that I was also making Joy snow-bubble men. Cloud said to her brothers, "Mom has had a long day. Let's just leave her alone."
I invited them to come play, then turned off the dishwasher and got the salt to pour into it and waited to clean up the mess until after the kids played a bit.
Elana Mizrahi wrote a very sweet article about doing something similar and got me to thinking about the sweetness in life when it seems sour.
I'd been insane with my husband leaving because I get upset about everything falling apart when he goes, but I thought to myself how nice it was to find "something sweet" in the frustration. I went to bed. Under my pillow, in spite of me having been a brat, I found a carton of Pepperidge Farm Milanos and a small book of poems.