Our family loves television. So there's that. We have no shame in our game. We've been watching Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events with the kids. Zeke and I read the books together so we were going to watch the show together. In all honesty I didn't want the other kids watching it as Colby and I previewed episode one and deemed it too scary for our other three, all of whom get a little spooked and it stays with them. But plans never go as plans are intended to go. They heard Zeke and I talking about watching it and they begged to be a part. I acquiesced. Whatever. Parenting.
We watched three episodes and everyone slept through the night with no spooks. Last night we view episode four as a family and immediately after our seven year old was in tears. "I'm so scared of Count Olaf. But he won't find them again so it's okay, I can watch the rest of the show." Oh baby. He kept crying as his fears caught up to him and I had to explain that Count Olaf would indeed make more appearances in these unfortunate events. More tears. He was inconsolable.
I didn't know what to do, but then I remembered that I'm completely obsessed with Neil Patrick Harris and I follow his instagram. This is perfect. I explain to my little seven year old bug that Mommy and Daddy have been obsessed with the actor who plays count Olaf since he was a teenage doctor keeping a daily journal on his computer. Little Buggie wasn't amused. I kept on, "He starred in Mommy and Daddy's all time favorite comedy!" Bug takes a breath and looks up at me with intrigue, "Really? What was the show called and what was his name?"
I'm completely making up this parenting tactic in the moment as I go. "His name was Barnie and the show was called How I Met Your Mother." In my head I'm thinking, "Great, what are you going to do Kate? Show him an episode of Count Olaf acting like the worst but funniest womanizer of all time?" Where is this going? Oh well. I keep spouting out random facts about Neil Patrick Harris. Then I find myself pulling up instagram on my phone and next thing I know I've spent 20 minutes looking at videos of Neil and his husband David riding rollercoasters at Disney World with their adorable daughter and son.
My little seven year old bug was enthralled. He would have spent the rest of the night looking at Neil's Christmas tree ornaments and puppy photos and adventures with his kids and tributes to his husband on their anniversary and even photos of himself dressed up as Count Olaf. He was calm and happy and genuinely interested in the life of NPH. I put him to bed and we said our prayers and he fell asleep more peacefully than even normal.
My heart marvels at the joy and peace brought to us in our moments of fear and upset by simply remembering the smallest and most normal every day life stuff. I've been a big critic of Facebook and Instagram feeds that are filled with puppies and chocolate cake because life feels too serious for that right now. But I'm wrong. We desperately need the mundane more than ever. Protests and political articles that make you think and real news but also puppies. Both and.
We have to calm our fears with the reminder of puppies and babies and trees and Thunder Mountain Railroad and pie and ice-cream and the love between two people who've vowed to be together forever. We need the ocean and wine bottles and long walks with toddlers and funny t-shirts and comic books and chocolate.
We'll lose our souls if we forget what we're fighting for and only fight. When Count Olaf is chasing people out of the safety of their homes we need to fight with passion and ferocity but we also need to calm down with photos of babies. Both and. If we've all died from panic attacks there will be no one left to fight for the good of the world. Stare at a chubby baby today and protest tomorrow- repeat. Such is the rhythm of life on planet Earth.