Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Laughter: the best medicine?

In about September/October of grade eleven, we had the semi-formal. When you're IN grade eleven, that's a really big deal. It's a lot like the formal (aka Prom) that you have in grade 12, but just a tiny bit less fancy: basically, your parents drive you, rather then hiring limos to drive you. Otherwise it's pretty much the same as the formal.

I remember being excited about the semi (unlike my formal - but that's another story!), and mum sewed me the most beautiful outfit. It was a long, full, gorgeous black skirt, and a really pretty midnight blue, fitted silk top. And depending where you were standing in the light and how you moved, the colours in the top all seemed to change. I really liked it :)

I'm pretty sure I was sewn into it on the night though - because we were running really late! (I'll interject here quickly and assure Mum that I know it was my fault we were running so late, since I never made decisions about what I wanted until the very last minute, lol!). I seem to remember that my date was actually in the living room waiting, and mum and I were rushing frantically around in her bathroom to finish my hair and makeup. I had really long (gorgeous, full, dark, not-full-of-grey) hair back then, and we'd decided to wear it out and curly with a dimonti slide I think. Once that was done, it was just my makeup that needed doing.

I don't remember clearly exactly how what happened next happened, but one minute we were shaking the liquid foundation bottle (with a finger over the top), and the next minute, I inexplicably had liquid foundation ALL OVER ME! All over my hair, sitting perfectly over both shoulders, and all over the front of my beautiful midnight blue top. In my memory, at that moment, time just hung for a moment, as we both just stared in horror at my reflection in the mirror. Our eyes widened, our eyebrows rose, and our jaws dropped.

And then, mum suddenly started laughing. And I don't just mean a giggle. It was one of those 'I have never laughed so hard in my life' kind of laughs. I started shreiking and wailing and panicking and getting into hysterics (naturally!), and that just seemed to make mum laugh even harder. I actually remember mum dropping to the floor of the bathroom and sitting there, holding her sides as she laughed! And everytime she'd look up at me, a whole new round of laughter would start up.

Of course in spite of myself, I started laughing a little bit too (not too much though - I mean, I was covered in foundation!). And as Mum finally finished laughing and stood up to 'fix things', I remember her explaining to me (as I demanded to know WHAT could possibly be so funny!) that sometimes things just go so terribly wrong that there's really nothing you can do but laugh (she might not have used those exact words, but that's the gist of what I remember).

Dad was duly summoned and dispatched with a message for my date that he'd better make himself comfortable. The top had to come off, be hand washed and then 'hair drier' dried, and my hair had to be washed out as best as we could in the sink and then re-dried and curled. It took a while, but there was no other way around it.

I remember having a good time with mum that night, and that in the end, it all worked out just fine (my date may not have the same memory, but he's not the one writing this blog).

I have often thought of that night over the last several years - especially when things go terribly wrong! I'm really grateful that laughter was mum's first response. I often remember it when I find my eyes widening, my eyebrows rising, and my jaw dropping, and it's a lesson that has served me well on more occassions than I can count.

Because when it's between laughing and crying, you might as well laugh. In any event, you'll have a better time cleaning up a mess! :)

xo Tammy


  1. (Tammy and I just had a laugh over this on the phone - as it was actually the Year 10 graduation dance, the dress I'd made was red, and there was no sewing into it.. The black skirt and top described, were what she wore on the following year. All the essentials of the story are correct though :)

    Tammy was too kind to state that it was me who was shaking the bottle of foundation when it sprayed all across the front of her new red dress and across her freshly-styled hair! I have a clear memory of just standing there with both our mouths open in shock for a moment, before I turned to look at Tammy in the mirror and yes, then collapsed on the floor laughing. It was funny!

    I was shaking with laughter the whole time I was cleaning the dress and her hair, (which cleaned out fairly quickly without any problems :) And Tammy made it to the dance just a little late :)

  2. Hahaha. Tammy! Mum has taught me this lesson in life many times too! Also through 'horrific' experiences.
    I remember when Mum cut my hair when I was 10. It had been very long and we decided to cut it just below my shoulders.
    It was after school and Mum was sick. Because she was too sick to stand and do it properly we decided that she would sit on the couch and I would sit on the ground in front of her and she'd cut my hair like that. My hair was in a low ponytail from school and Mum decided to start by just cutting off my ponytail. What we didn't count on was the fact that this resulted in my hair being cut at a really weird angle, with the highest point being halfway up my head!
    I just heard Mum go 'Oh', pause, and then burst out laughing. I had no idea what had happened but knew it must be bad. I felt behind my head and felt....hardly anything at all.
    Clearly, I was mortified and didn't find it as funny as Mum seemed to.
    Mum wouldn't let me get up and go look in the mirror and kept insisting, through breathless giggles, that 'she could fix it! She was sure she could fix it!'.

    End of story: My hair was evened out and I ended up with a bob that was halfway up my ears and nearly in line with my fringe. I was so humiliated my teacher had to basically force me to take my hat off in class the next day. You may think it doesn't matter when you're only 10, but to a 10 yr old, it matters!
    Anyway, I did find it funny once it grew back :P

  3. You guys are making me sound awful! Bethy, I think you ought to be concentrating more on the exceptional kindness of your mother, who wanted to oblige you by cutting your hair - even when I was too sick to stand! It's true that I did cut it shorter than I had intended to.. But I'm sure I did everything I could to fix it. And you did look very cute :) (You always do :)

    (Note to any likewise selflessly dedicated mothers out there: avoid all sharp objects when you are not thinking straight.)

    C'est la vie!