In which my last humor column is very unfunny

I thought I’d have something way more exciting to say in this, my last column ever. Well, maybe ever. For now anyway.

When I started writing this thing more than 10 years ago, my youngest was 2 and a half, potty-training resistant, and the Houdini of all child locks. In fact, my first column was entitled “DestructoBoy” and focused on that kid’s super-human ability to dismantle everything in a room without breaking a sweat. That same child will turn 13 in about a month.

Also when I started writing this thing, I was months away from separating from my now ex-husband. DestructoBoy’s shenanigans aside, those were dark times — the kind of times they say either kill you or make you stronger. And they lasted for nearly half a decade.

To be honest, I cried a lot in the beginning. Ugly, heaving cries while my kids slept, and I wondered what lay in our futures, hailed forth by a broken woman. And at the risk of sounding cheesy, this column kept me afloat.

There’s something to be said for a routine deadline requiring you to write something funny. While things were difficult, this column forced me to shift my perspective, to determine that in those moments when I could either laugh or cry, I chose to laugh. Because at least I was getting paid for it.

You’re crazy poor and your roof starts to leak? Laugh about it. Your tattling tweenager barges into your room only to find you post-shower and buck naked? Laugh about it. You experience serious post-traumatic divorce stress, becoming a legit hypochondriac complete with panic attacks where you for-reals think you’re going to die? Laugh about it. Get therapy, seriously, but also laugh about it.

And if you’re me, you teeter on the edge of despair for a moment (translation: indeterminate amount of time) before shifting for another angle, another perspective that could reveal either hope or humor, or if you’re lucky, both. That’s what this column required of me, gifted me.

So here I am, a decade later, with children (more than I started with!), most of them teenagers now, who simultaneously amaze and terrify me. A husband who loves and supports me to excess. And a literary agent who wants to see my dream of becoming a published novelist a reality.

As I’ve been forced to shift priorities, I’ve been hesitant to let this column go because of what it’s meant to me, because of what you reading it has meant to me.

You’ve often had a front-row seat of the chaos of my life. I’ve been shameless to get a laugh, my faults becoming my best puns, and you tolerated it all. Maybe you even laughed with me as we survived together.

Thank you, dear reader.

EDITOR’S NOTE: No Shauna. Thank you, for a fantastic series of columns. Starting Sunday, Looking Back will run on Smart Living.

Shauna’s book FYI, “Sometimes There Is No Grass: Ramblings of a Single Mother,” is a compilation of her earlier columns and is currently available on Amazon.com.


Shauna’s book FYI, “Sometimes There Is No Grass: Ramblings of a Single Mother,” is a compilation of her earlier columns and is currently available on Amazon.com.