Over the last 2 years I have been watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. It’s one of those shows where I’ve heard criticism regarding its unrealistic circumstances. Well, yes, it is unrealistic. That’s why it’s a television show. Lily somehow puts Marshall through law school on her preschool teaching salary while they live in a beautiful spacious NYC apartment (I don’t think those even exist outside of sitcoms). Also, they drink constantly and never seem to work. But c’mon, people. I don’t want to watch the realistic version of that: Where a young couple struggles to feed their children on one salary while living in a tiny apartment with thin walls. I live that show, why would I want to watch it?
Whether you like HIMYM, hate it, have never seen it, think it’s wildly inappropriate, this will all come together in a minute. Hang in here.
The thing about watching a show on Netflix is that when you can watch as many episodes as you want in a row, things start to get a little repetitive. Like when I was a teen I went through a phase where I would watch a couple episodes of Full House after school every day on TBS. By about day 5 of that I could guess exactly what was coming next. DJ comes to a whole new realization about boys/friends/Kimmy, Stephanie is a smart-aleck but means the best, and Michelle says something adorable. (Also Uncle Joey becomes more and more creepy.)
Aaaanyway…How I Met Your Mother. I found myself getting frustrated recently because the characters keep having to learn the same lesson over and over. I want to scream at Ted, I mean, my computer screen, “Stop making destructive decisions! She will never love you!” Yet, there goes Ted again, I mean, really any character, making the same stupid mistakes and learning 17 minutes later that things will not work out well for them.
Then, after watching the show, I go back to my life. One of my boys spills their cup on the floor. I want to scream, “Seriously? You spilled your cup yesterday! And the day before!” and then I realize, and the day before that…and the day before that…and you will probably spill it tomorrow…and the next day. That’s when it hits me. I continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over. My children give me repeated opportunities to show them grace, and I continually miss them. Why am I still surprised when they spill, or fight with each other, or pee on the floor right next to the toilet instead of inside the toilet?
I’m so glad no one is watching my life on TV. Trust me, you don’t want in on this crazy train. But the only One who sees every moment is also the One who will constantly and repeatedly give me grace when I fail. And I’m thankful for that, because Ted Mosby is not the only one who fails to learn a lesson the 2nd, 3rd, or 15th time.
So instead of screaming, I grab some paper towel and get down on my knees to wipe up the spilt milk. “It’s okay,” I tell my son, “spills happen. Do you want to help me clean it up?” And with a smile that starts in his soul and shines through his eyes, he sloppily helps me make things better.
Of course, this all happens while his brother makes an adorable comment and Uncle Joey does his ventriloquism act.