Thursday, November 08, 2012

I'm Learning to Laugh

I remember laughing frequently at dinner when I was a kid.
I have an older brother and an older sister who picked on each other A LOT. And my brother was generally goofy anyway, always cracking jokes and doing silly things. Hasn't changed much, now that I think of it. Between the two of them, we laughed a lot.

As a mom (with control issues *ahem*) I have not been a fan of goofing around at the dinner table. I am much more in favor of calm conversation and compliments for the chef. So when I heard my father reflecting on how much he enjoyed our crazy family meals, I wondered how it could really be possible. How could he revel in that chaos? (My father is the one from whom I believe I inherited my control issues...) I wondered, Is it a factor of his age - and the reality that his memory isn't what it used to be - which allows him to remember the chaos with such fondness?

Or, could it be the silliness we experienced at the dinner table really was as fun as we remember it to be? Could it be the noise, bumped tables, and occasional spilled milk are all a part of future fond memories?

These questions are making a big difference for me.
Especially at the dinner table.
I have caught myself loosening up. I have watched both of my boys acting very silly - really cracking themselves up - and found myself laughing right along with everyone else.
Sometimes I look at Joshua and see my big brother. The goofiness. The joy in making other people laugh. The love of being the center of attention. I remember how much I enjoyed laughing at with him at my childhood dinner table, and I find the same joy at my adult dinner table.
And, honestly? It feels good.
Letting go of the need to be in control of every moment is freeing. Recognizing the value in goofiness and the ability to express oneself in a silly way is - dare I say it? FUN!

Oh, I wouldn't call myself "cured" from my control issues and uptight tendencies around chaos.
But I'm learning to laugh. And it feels so good!


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