Daily Archives: October 8, 2009

Finding the laughter in life


Don’t you just love it when children laugh? It’s even more enjoyable to see babies obviously enjoying being in the moment.

I’ve tried my best to remember the laughter of my son. I can’t. I remember playing with him but I can’t recall times that he would just giggle. Even today when he comes home we talk with each other but we never really get downright silly and laugh. I miss that about us.

I think when he was born I was too overwhelmed with being a single mother. I was awed by the sole responsibility of taking care of him. I took my responsibility for his care too seriously. Yes, I was married but from the the third day of his life at home from the hospital, his father left us to travel for the week and it was just the two of us alone in a new house in a new state. My ex would usually leave Monday morning and come home Thursday evening, go to work Friday morning and come home some time before dawn on Saturday. There was very little interaction between the three of us where we shared laughter as a family.

There is  such a thing as teaching a child how to laugh. I wish I had been able to do that. By doing that,  a parent can help a child deal with the stresses of every day life. My son has always had difficulty dealing with stress. At times he has become physically ill when there is too much going on. I’m trying very hard not to lay blame on myself for how he turned out, but I often wonder if I could have helped him as a child.

Don’t get me wrong. He turned out in my opinion very well. He is a very impressive young man. But that is his public side. I often wonder how happy he is inside. Like me, he is prone to depression. My wish for him would be that he could find the joy in life. At this stage in my life I am seriously trying to do that. It’s just not terribly easy to do.

As a child I don’t remember laughter in my life. I remember being alone more than any child should have to be. There was very little interaction with my father, aunt, or any at all that I remember, with my sister. I think I can remember my father laughing a couple of times when he was with my uncle but the times are rare. It’s kind of sad because he had the reputation of being a very funny guy who always joked around before my mother died. I never knew that part of him. Everybody always remembered his jokes and sense of humor. I don’t remember any.

When my sister and I get together, she usually does the talking for about 90% of the time and I do the listening. I learn everything about everybody else sometimes including what one of her friends had for lunch three weeks before, but there is nothing really ever humorous in our conversation. I have learned that it is better to not get together with her any more than I can absolutely not avoid.

I have a cousin, however, who is really a joy to visit. We start giggling over silly stuff just for the joy of laughing. She always has a tale to tell about her children and grandchildren. She is able to see the humor in almost everything. She especially enjoys sharing laughter with her grandchildren. She is giving them a wonderful gift. Truth be told, I enjoy staying with her much more than my sister. And then of course there is Maxine. Occasionally we’ll start laughing and carry on for many minutes at a time.

Laughter, it has been found, is essential for good health. It does all kinds of wonderful things for the body. There is even a name for a person who studies laughter. That person is a gelotologist…great to work into a conversation at a social occasion. There is even an Association for Therapeutic Humor. One of my favorite movies is Robin Williams in Patch Adams. Patch Adams found himself in a mental institution for having the desire to commit suicide. When he was in there, he made a determined effort to become a doctor and to use laughter to help his patients heal. He has had the goal for years of building the Gesundheit ! Institute in West Virginia to combine alternative methods of healing and laughter to help patients heal. It’s too bad that I just learned that there were no contributions by Williams to this effort. I enjoyed this film.

There was a time when it was highly improper to laugh around sick people. They needed quiet, it was thought, in order to heal. Adams proved the opposite is the case. Laughter, in his opinion, is extremely strong medicine.

It is difficult to find reasons to laugh when I’m by myself so much of the time. There are some television shows that when I hear something funny I have begun to allow myself at least an occasional chuckle. I’m afraid that I don’t often find America’s Funniest Videos all that funny. I too often feel the pain behind the falls, the crotch hits, etc. I’ve never been one to see the humor in slapstick. I do enjoy some of the comedians on the Comedy Channel but often times I find little humor in the use of offensive language being used instead of things genuinely funny. I guess I’m getting old because I loved the antics of Red Skelton, Milton Berle, Bob Hope and others like them who could tell jokes and elicit laughter just with their facial expressions and timing without resorting to childish toilet humor and foul language. I hope some day comedians will cycle around to that type of humor again.

It is my prayer that if you are reading this today you find something to laugh at. If you do, please share it with me. I promise I won’t blog about it if you don’t want me to. I’ve decided to start a “Laugh a Day” part of my life. Supposedly one is to laugh at least twenty times a day to maintain health. I am at a severe deficit at this point. I am starting with baby steps with one laugh and hopefully  building up. Consider doing the same thing. There has to be something out there to make us laugh.


Have a good time looking for the laughter. Namaste. Attic Annie


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