I recently wrote on facebook that my new life motto is...If I have to live, then I want to laugh. This new motto just popped out of my mouth when I was with my personal trainer at the gym. (I have a personal trainer because I have no idea how to get into shape, and I have no idea how to use the machines.) We were talking about my road trip with the kids. I'll tell you about that in a little bit. She said that she was amazed at how much she laughs when she is with me...especially considering the fact that I am a recent widow. Then these infamous words popped out. The more I thought about them, the more I thought about how accurate they are. I am not really fond of living. I choose to live because I have two wonderful birth children who need me. I also have tons of other kids whom I love and would not want them to have to go through another death. There's other reasons why I choose to live, quite a few actually, but these are the top 2. Okay, fine...number 3 is for my family and friends...I wouldn't want to put another death on them either...
Laughing has become a major way of life for me. I've always liked to laugh, but I laughed most when I was with Tony. I liked to make people laugh, but I had limits as to what I would do. The new me LOVES to laugh. The new me NEEDS to laugh. I now do crazy things so I can laugh...especially if it will give me a fun memory. There's more to this, but I will wait until later to tell you what kind of crazy I have now done. I have noticed that I have changed...and not just a little...I am a new person...I'm not quite sure what I feel about that. One of the things that happened right after Tony died, was that my kids noticed where they missed their dad. It was the things he laughed at. It was the things he did to make them laugh. It was the things he did to make them feel special. They each asked me to allow them to say the "dad" things to me and try to have a "dad" reaction to them. It was hard at first. Now I realize that the new me does that. I have noticed that I say things that Tony would say because no one is there to say it. It just pops out. Half the time I will apologize for it, but the kids find it funny. I am finding that living this way is much less stressful...weird...who would have thought... Now I am doing things that Tony might have done...it just happens...or I just can't see a reason not to do it...to make people laugh...to cross something off the bucket list (mine or Tony's)...to just be able to laugh. I am enjoying those moments. I am enjoying those memories. I am amazed at my changes...sometimes I don't recognize myself.
Now, on to the road trip stories. I know you've been waiting anxiously for them. The trip originated with Jeremiah getting two tickets to see Craig Ferguson. Do not watch him just because I mentioned him. He has a filthy mouth and a raunchy sense of humor. He also has a "Brignolio" sense of humor. I accidently started my family watching him when one of my favorite bands was on his show. Tony loved the humor and started watching. He couldn't wait for the day when he was good enough (health-wise) to go see his show in person. Anyway, Jeremiah invited me to have his second ticket. I said, "YES!!!!! I mean, sure, honey, I will go along with you on a road trip." He admitted later that he invited me because he didn't have the money. I told him I knew that, but I wasn't going to give up an excuse to go on a trip my son invited me on. So that's how it began.
My son likes to do road trips differently than I do. If he sees something during the trip that intrigues him, he stops and checks it out. I now enjoy this way of travelling.We found many new and unusual things...things that others are curious about and never know what it is... It was pretty awesome. There's a western place at the Kettleman City exit on I5 that has a cute playground complete with old building facades with stairs and slides in them. This is a fun little stop. We found a random island that has a weird bridge connecting to it. We couldn't go on it...but we tried...we pretended we were just tourists taking pictures... Universal Studios is really where the crazy started. There's this video on youtube where 2 dudes connect hands going opposite ways on an escalator. Jeremiah said I should do this. I said, "You do it." So he did. He even looked into the other person's eyes as he did it. Then he said it was my turn.......oops.....what did I get myself into? So the first one (yes, first one) was a kids who had his hand out hanging over the edge. I reached out and grabbed his fingers. I couldn't look at him after that. After a few moments, I found it hilarious. Jeremiah enjoyed it. The next time I put my hand over on their hand rail...the lady gave me a weird look...then moved her hand...before she got to my hand. That was fun. And the final one (dun, dun, dun) was a bit unnverving. I slid my hand up this ladies hand...but I got my hand stuck in her bracelet...not planned...I was afraid she was going to think I was stealing her bracelet...... It was awesome...not...but I did find it hilarious...later. We also photo bombed as much as possible. We got sprayed with water on tons of rides (if you are Jeremiah, you got sprayed in the mouth every single time). We hung out with friends. We took selfies with famous people (in the wax museum). We took ridiculous pictures with celebs (in the wax museum). Then we drove north the get Julia and headed to Monterrey. The aquarium was really crowded, but the surrey was fun (it wasn't but I'm trying to be positive for the kids). We got retro candy. We went to the beach. We "accidently" walked through a photo shoot at the beach. Julia froze a wet wash cloth, and then stuck in on Jeremiah. They froze a block of ice and then threw it off the second floor of the hotel while they filmed it. This is the short version. We had a great time. We laughed. I realized I was different. I realized that I kinda liked the new me. I realized that my kids liked the new me.
Anyway...how did I choose joy? I chose joy when I allowed us to go driving without definitive plans and no reservations. I chose joy when I chose to do funny, stupid things. I chose joy when I didn't make us stay at the aquarium all day because "I spent so much money that we are going to enjoy ourselves until we have used up every ounce of the time." I chose joy when I rented a surrey even though I remembered how much I hate them. I chose joy by being flexible. I chose joy by finding things to laugh about and at. JOY