I pinched my nose and whispered so the taxi driver couldn’t hear. “Either this taxi needs a bath or there’s a chicken-fried steak hidden under the seat.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ashley laughed. “Where are you?”

“Just getting into the city,” I groaned. “We sat on the tarmac for three hours.” I stared out the window at a wispy-thin man riding a bike and balancing a six-pack of Heineken over the handlebars. “And someone stole my sandwich while I slept.”

“How’d they do that?”

“My seat was right next to the toilet, and passenger butts were in my face like some weird pornographic jigsaw puzzle.”

“Ewww!” Ashley said.

“They must have grabbed it after the whoosh of the constant flushing lulled me to sleep.” I watched the red light ahead. “At least the inflight movie was ‘The Matrix.’”

“Just get here,” Ashley said. “You might make it to dinner if you hurry.”

“Don’t wait,” I sighed. “I have to shower; otherwise, I’ll be the girl that smells like a toilet bowl of blue liquid. I’ll catch up with you guys later.”

*&^%#@ you stupid slow sewer tube!” I thought. “I’m going to miss all of the fun!

I laid my head against the window.

“Hey, lady!” the cabbie yelled. “This your hotel?”

“Oh, sorry,” I said, as I jumped out of the cab. “Can you pop the trunk?”

But instead of hearing the latch pop, I watched the cab drive away with my luggage – still in the trunk.

My face twisted into a violent snarl. I threw my purse onto the concrete. I let loose an unearthly growl and spat out a stream of obscenities. “You *&^%#@ Nacho Cheese *&^%#@, Big Bird *&^%#@, Yellow Matter Custard Dripping From a Dead Dog’s Eye *&^%#@!”

“Ma’am,” said a calm voice from behind. “Can I help you?”

“No!” I snapped, as I chased my favorite red lipstick tube into the street. “I’ve got everything under control!”

“I see that,” said the voice with a chuckle.

When I raised to snatch my bag away from the amused stranger, I shrunk.

The helpful stranger was Keanu Reeves.

I stood speechless, fanaticizing about drowning in the blue sanitizer of the airplane toilet. I wondered if I should apologize for my outburst. I racked my brain for some meaningful response. But like “a splinter in my mind . . . driving me mad,” the only thing I could say was:

“I know kung fu.”

Micah and Maddox,

With your genes, it’s unlikely you’ll have the calming nature of Mahatma Gandhi. It’s more likely that you’ll jump on a couch like Tom Cruise.

That’s okay, though.

We cry because we’ve been hurt, and we make sacrifices because we love. We should feel anger when humans are denied freedom and justice. A full spectrum of emotions makes life interesting and worthwhile. (All vegetables with no chocolate milk would be torture, right?)

But when we act on our impulses in the heat of passion, the results are too often destructive and tragic.

So how do you calm your tumultuous sea of emotion?

  1. Don’t react right away. Walk away before you say or do something you might regret.
  2. Pray. Faith guides us through our darkest moments.
  3. Find a healthy outlet. Find a friend who will listen. See a counselor that can liberate you from pent-up sentiments.
  4. See the bigger picture. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
  5. Forgive your emotional triggers. Forgive yourself. People will lose their $#@! – So will you. Everyone deserves a little grace (even mommies).

And before you get too upset, remember that sometimes, the bad things put us directly on the path to the best things. For example, had I not been such a nutter that day, I might be Mrs. Keanu Reeves and I wouldn’t have you or Daddy (just go with it).

Emotionally yours,

Mom

I’m trying to free your mind. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it. – Morpheus