Long before reclaimed wooden signs were all the rage, Mrs. Belinski had one hanging in the windowsill above her kitchen sink.
It featured a single, made up word – Kwitchurbellyachin’.
After finishing a craft project with her two youngest – part of our neighborhood get-along gang – I stood there washing my hands (yes, this was in fashion way back in the 1980s too), and stared at it. Even cloaked in Southern speak, this delightful little word mashup intrigued me.
“Belly achin’”. What did it mean? Easy enough to decipher. Was I guilty of it? Whelp. Saucy little 12-year-old that I was, the answer to this question needed no independent validation.
As dusk set in and I rode my tasseled Schwinn back home, I considered what this all meant. If I were to reverse pattern, what might that entail?
Perhaps less lamenting about the load – “Ugh! Our teachers gave us so much homework! This is ridiculous. Don’t they know we have a life? Don’t they understand we need to sleep?!” – and more appreciation for the real-life prep that was taking place.
As if I even had a clue.
What I thought I had the right to complain about then ain’t got nothin’ on the here and now.
For me at least, the stress of maintaining an A/B average and managing a few extracurriculars pales in comparison on the Richter Scale of Hectic Things to this wonderful microcosm of the present day; that’s equal parts investing in my marriage while bringing up kind humans and also engineering a career I happen to love. (With regular stints of devotional time and exercise and a little bit of unwinding with the small cadre of girlfriends I’m lucky enough to count on and trust.)
It’s a bustling, busy existence, and circumstances often color outside the lines of what my schedule or current mood can bear. Yep, at every stage and through every phase, there’s plenty enough reason for me to holler and howl about all that’s not right in my world. And sometimes I go there, but I don’t stay.
If I’m going to give (negative) voice to something, I try to at least take it a step further and find the flip side. It’s always there. Sometimes I’m just too righteous in my indignation to see it.
Of course this often means hitting the reset button because I’m just as human as all of you, and my patience and positivity are most certainly tested on the regular.
Speaking of which, kwitchurbellyachin’ is also one of those delightful little parenting privileges, earned through years of attitude-shaping experience. I love to trot out this phrase when the next generation serves up the surly snark that, I must admit, they come by honestly.
“Yes, you have to eat it. All of it, unless you want to see it again for breakfast. No, I’m not kidding.”
“I don’t care who did it first. Figure it out before Mama goes full-on fun sponge and starts vacuuming up the Legos.”
“You have to clean it up because your lemonade stand cash stash doesn’t cover the bills. Best get after it, kid.”
“What’s that you say? Bored, huh? You know, our baseboards haven’t had a good deep cleaning since the 12th of never happened til just now.”
Not that it turns off the whining and complaining that are part and parcel of family life. But I like to tell myself that perhaps they’re trading bellyachin’ for testing me less often (allow me to enjoy this illusion a bit longer, won’t you?)
No matter. So long as I’m living, kwitchurbellyachin’ will be part of my personal ethos.
The sunny side makes for a better view, and besides, regardless of whatever raw material life throws at you, there are a whole lot of ways to be humble and helpful and dare I say it, downright happy.
So kwitchurbellyachin’ already!