Saturday, September 11, 2010


One of my earliest memories is about laughing. My Uncle Jim is a doctor (still practicing at 81 - God bless him!). When I was little he would visit us; chasing me around the house pretending to be a monster. He threatened to take me to live at the hospital where the nurses would take care of me. Most kids would be scared. And actually I was afraid of so many things as a child that I cannot believe I was unafraid of my uncle, or unknown nurses at an unknown hospital. Yet I remember my peals of laughter and giggles as I ran away; running just slow enough so Uncle Jim could catch me and throw me over his shoulder. I doubt I was more than 3 or 4, but that memory is etched in my brain.

I love that my kids make me laugh. We are talking full out, bust a gut, slide down the wall, can't catch my breath, afraid I am going to pee my pants, tears streaming down my face laughter. Although that kind of laughter does not occur every day, I love when it does. We laugh daily. If any of us attempted to explain why, no one would understand, but I am sure gonna try.

The laugh can be inspired by a look, a simple word, or action. The "I'm afraid I'm gonna pee my pants" laughter mentioned above was simply due to opening my daughter's bedroom door last winter to find her multitasking as usual. The room was dark except for the glow of her TV and a book light clipped to her headband so she could read and watch TV while being completely encased in blankets. (In the winter her room resembles a meat locker due to horrid windows.) I haven't a clue how she turned the pages of her book. With her nose? She must have known how silly she looked because her faced reflected the thought of being caught in the act of something extremely silly. It was the combo platter of a cold breeze hitting me in my face and the look on her face that sent me into giggles.

And, by the way, nothing is sacred and quite often irreverent. Putting dinner on the table, or dining together is generally where the laughter begins. We don't care if we have company. Join the jokes, puns and silliness. The more the merrier. Most times when we have company, we end up sitting around the dinner table (or venturing only as far as the living room) talking and laughing for hours. I love that about my family and friends.

Anyone who dines at our table holds a special place in my heart as they are about to witness my family at their most real and surreal. Few have entered this domain. No casualties reported yet because I am very careful of the guest list. There was a time when I worried as to who would share my life. Would they understand our dinner table antics are sacred to us? Would they criticize? I no longer worry because anyone I would invite over would know how to laugh, joke, join the ensuing silliness and keep up with witty repartee.

Once as I walked in the door from work, Kat was teaching Gramma how to drop it and pop it. Music was blaring and there was my daughter and mother dancing in the kitchen. Trina was encouraging Gramma to "work it". Wish I had a video camera at that moment in time, but honestly, I was laughing too hard and having too much fun watching my mom dropping and popping. The dancing was pretty good. She knows how to move. And I am fairly jealous.

Another time Trina made Adam laugh so hard (can't remember why) water spewed from his mouth. As it arched through the air and hit the floor the evening sun caught the jet stream creating a beautiful rainbow. Sunny D quite possibly came out of Trina's nose as she witnessed the rainbow. But then of course, she was all, "Do it again! That was SO cool." Yes, the source of our laughter is quite everything and nothing.

Last winter, it was just Trina, Gramma and I at the dinner table as Adam was in bed with the flu. Trina always makes me laugh, but this particular evening she was on a roll. It started out with Trina trying to convince Gramma to join a dating website for seniors. First off, my mother can't even figure out how to turn on the netbook we purchased for her, let alone attempt geriatric on-line dating. But that did not stop Katrina. She wanted Gramma to go bike riding with some senior "dude" she saw on a commercial. I suggested a pub crawl. Gramma thinks we are both nuts.

Kat then told me the senior "dude" on the bike looked like he was in his fifties. Uh...gee...thanks hon...senior dude? are hitting a little too close to home for this 48 year old I grounded her. She laughed at me.

We then started gossiping about seniors that were currently dating. Katrina is sure there is a senior somewhere in Gramma's circle of friends that would be a great match. Gramma is sure her only current mission in life is to live vicariously through her grandchildren. Katrina suggested Gramma raise her expectations as their lives are not interesting. We then all agreed my dating life was completely snooze inducing. Can you feel the love?

Katrina, Adam and I banter constantly. One liners fly back and forth. Sadly, if the batteries in Gramma's hearing aides are not fully juiced she misses much of the rapid fire comments flying around the table. I spend a lot of time explaining what just happened which is often lost in translation, forcing me to miss out on the latest bit of insanity.

Although Adam is not quiet, and quite funny on his own, his sister over powers him in most scenarios. He is generally the straight man playing off of her lunacy. Desi to her Lucy. One of Katrina's favorite phrases is Mother Flower when she is angry. Adam stole the phrase when crabby about something. The next thing I heard was Katrina yelling, "Mom...Adam said Flower". I don't care what Adam was angry about, her stupid comment made him forget his troubles...for a moment.

Katrina's friends are surprised how the kids and I speak to each other. Yes, I know that I am the parent and they are my children. People remind me all the time that I am not their friend, but their parent. Thanks for the news flash folks. We do know. But honestly, I LOVE my kids. We have fun. My parenting style may be different, but I think I get the job done. And no one has been arrested...yet.

I have never condoned name calling. To me that is just rude. But being siblings, the phrase Dork or Idiot flies through the air on occasion. They never name call their Gramma or I. But they often tell me I am a Geek. I happily agree and am rather proud of the moniker. So, when Trina called me a Geek one day, a friend of hers was appalled. I explained to the boy whose English paper I was proofing that I am admittedly one and I happily embrace my inner geekiness. I get giddy over algebra homework. What can I say? They repeatedly tell me that I am whacked. This poor kid said his mother would have killed him for that remark. His mother obviously had a sense of humor-ectomy.

We have a sign in the dining room that is perpetually crooked. No matter how often I try to straighten it, it tilts to the left. I've given up. The sign reads, "Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves as we will never cease to be amused." The slightly skewed sign is how I prefer to look at life. The fact that it won't hang straight on the wall is a metaphor for life. Nothing is as it seems and one can always tip a situation; finding humor behind it. Honestly we are often amused.

About 2 years ago my best friend Maggie won a pole dancing pole in a raffle at S Factor. Since her condo is not big enough to store it, I offered to keep it in our basement until she decided to either install it or sell it. It stayed in our basement unopened until she donated it to an auction raising money for ovarian cancer. But while it was still hanging out in our basement, one day while we were all dining on Chinese take out (yes, the best stories happen at our house over a meal) my mom asked what that long skinny box was in our storage room. Honestly, how could I explain a stripper pole to my 79 year old mother and why we were storing it? My response was, “It’s a pole…of sorts”. Considering Katrina was my accomplice when bringing the pole into the house, sneaking it through the garage, into the basement, passing my mother sleeping on living room couch and down the steps into the sub-basement and storage room, Katrina's shrimp fried rice flew across the room. I have never seen her laugh THAT hard. Gramma accepted the "pole of sorts" response; never questioning whether it was a light pole, coat rack, stripper pole.

Later that evening, Trina's friends, Eric and Antoine, show up to devour our Chinese take out leftovers. Katrina starts telling them about my "pole of sorts" comment to Gramma. The teens attempt to convince me to install the pole in the basement. One of the boys asked, "Ma, do you realize you would be the coolest mom at LT?" Um...yeah...and...not in this life time. I really don't care that my daughter's social standing would increase exponentially. Not the notoriety we want...or need. They did create hours of laughter discussing our house as the party palace with one of the boys attempting to mimic pole dancing with a dining room chair. The woman across the street who loves to peek out her window must have LOVED that scenario. I kept the curtains open. Heck if Gladys Kravitz is going to watch our house, she might as well have something to talk about later.

After dinner Gramma generally retreats to the family room to watch Wheel of Fortune, so our laughter gravitates upstairs. The kids generally do homework, text their friends and watch TV in their rooms. I generally sit in the middle of my bed which is my "desk", work on real estate, pay bills, or write. My door is open and they wander in and out throughout the evening. Our little area in the house is where the laughter continues. Great memories have been created wandering between our three rooms.

Sometimes I don't see what is going on in their rooms, but I hear it. The other day, Adam, while going through an Emo phase, wanted to see what he would look like with eye-liner and convinced Trina to teach him how to apply it. What I could hear from the other room was a simultaneously stream of commands and complaints, "Hold still. Open your eyes...Open them...I said hold still...Aargh!'re swaying...stop it." Adam's version was, "Ow...I'm not swaying...Ow!...They are open" Next, I heard, "Have Mom show you!" With that Adam appeared in my room looking like a lost puppy and only half eye-lined.

Later the same night, Trina stood in my doorway bopping to music. Mind you, no Ipod or ear buds were attached. The music she was listening to was completely in her brain. As I am quite use to this behavior, I asked, "What station are we listening to today?" Techno. I could not help but laugh. Here is a girl listening to her own cranial MP3 while her pony tail swayed to the beat. A little while later, I noticed a different beat of her head as she wandered into the hallway. All I have to do is raise an eye brow, or tilt my head and she'll tell me the latest genre playing their top 40 list. It ranges from Punk, Techno, Oldies, Classic Rock, Country, etc. Once she told a friend it was Mozart. One thing for sure, my baby girl wouldn't know Mozart from Beethoven, but her comment had the intended effect of wonder.

There are endless stories of laughter and silliness. No one ever said life was going to be easy. But I honestly believe if you take what is thrown at you, find the humor in the situation and parlay it back to the universe wrapped in laughter you will live a happier existence.

Enjoy the moment.

Seize the humor.


No comments:

Post a Comment