Spotlight: "You Might as Well Laugh" by Sandi Kahn Shelton
Working on this audiobook was a wonderful experience. Tiffany has narrated several books in various genres but this was the first time she was able to narrate something that she could relate to as a parent of two kids, and laughed hysterically during the process. She's had a crash course in parenting the past 2 years: first in raising Alex from the very beginning (the first five month in Texas as a single mother) and then jumping into the fray with Evan who was 7 when she finally relocated here to Virginia. She had spent a lot of quality time with Evan in smaller doses since he was four, but dealing with a 7 year old day in and day out is a bit more challenging while also adjusting to life with an infant, a new home across the country, and a full time family. As we recorded many of these columns, we couldn't help but laugh because we could relate to it all in the present tense, or knew we would be dealing with such issues soon enough. Kids have a tendency to keep growing.
Sandi Kahn Shelton has since moved on to writing fiction under the pen-name Maddie Dawson, her kids now fully grown adults with families of their own. But lucky for us, she was willing to share her experiences raising kids. If the references seem dated, it's because they genuinely capture a moment in time between the late 80's into the 90's. What hasn't changed is the experience of raising kids in a rapidly changing and shrinking world thanks to technology. You have to roll with it and laugh throughout or you'll never survive.
Even with 2 kids, aged 2 and 9 as of this writing, it feels like such a brief moment in time. I'm still amazed that Evan is halfway to being a legal adult. But as I've learned, like most parents have throughout time, raising kids is the most exhausting and emotionally draining thrill ride you'll ever experience.
I asked Tiffany to pull 5 of her favorite columns from this book, and explain why she enjoyed reading and later recording them.
So I had the task of selecting five pieces that touched me as we recorded ‘You Might As Well Laugh’… What a challenge!!! So many of these pieces had me in stitches or near tears (both from joy and sorrow). As a parent, I have experienced many things similar to what Mrs. Shelton had when her kids were younger, and I know that I will experience the others as my kids turn into teenagers (Lawd, help us all!), and go off to college/adulthood.
Rowing the Night Away – This one hit home BIG TIME! My daughter has had a few nights that have left me staggering through the next day. What she wants and asks for is unclear, so I make do and hope something will eventually work.
The Kitty Olympics – Cats. At Night. Doing their thing. Need I write more? Nah, give it a listen and you will understand.
On Christmas Day – This piece made me cry… parting from loved ones, on any day of the year, is heart-wrenching. When I lived in Texas, Sean and Evan would come visit me (and later on, Alexandra). Every time they went through airport security to return to Virginia, a piece of me went with them.
Parent’s Night – While I’ve not had the ‘honor’ of experiencing this as a parent (yet), I recall laying out the rules to my mom several times. It was vital that she NOT embarrass me, anywhere… ever.
The Art of Message-Mangling – Yep, I did this when I was a kid. Relaying messages (even ones not from phone calls) has been a challenge for my son. I’m sure my daughter will do the same as soon as she learns how to use the phone. (Oh wait, she has. She was calling people and babbling incoherently into their voice mail by the time she was 18 months old. Yep… she’s a lively one!)