As parents, we spend a lot of time thinking about the things that we used to take for granted. Spare time, sleep, money. The unconditional love we receive in return is a trade that we never (rarely) regret, but I think that there may be something else that they give that maybe we don’t appreciate enough. Their laughter.
Last summer we attended a picnic where the median age was just north of fifty. My daughter was the only child but had no problem finding ways to amuse herself. She ate a few pounds of chicken wings, swam in their pool, ( after waiting twenty minutes of course ) and had her first ride in a golf cart. She talked to anybody that would listen and coerced several adults into playing catch with her. She sang and she danced and she laughed, enjoying herself with the lack of inhibition only seen in small children and drunkards.
To me, it was just another day, life with a carefree extroverted little girl living a life I’m occasionally jealous of.
To others though, she was a revelation, a reminder of innocence long forgotten. Several different people were overheard commenting about how fantastic, how life-affirming, listening to the laughter of a child can be.
It’s something that I’ll confess to not really having given a lot of thought to before. We all want our children to be happy, laughter being a pretty strong indicator that they are at that given moment, and a pretty fair definition of the word “love” is finding joy in the happiness of another, but I’m not sure I really appreciate just how beneficial to my overall mood and temperament being around this little goofball really is.
When my wife and I first started dating not many people, ourselves included, expected it to last very long. Twelve years later we are still going strong and I think an important aspect of our success is that we laugh. We laugh at ourselves, we laugh at each other and we laugh at the kids. We laugh at a lot of things that most people probably wouldn’t find all that funny and a lot of things that probably really aren’t.
I don’t do life advice here, and I certainly don’t do relationship advice. I know that not everyone has the benefit of living in a household that some days resembles some sort of weird Three Stooges remake, but surround yourself with people that laugh, that make you laugh.
My daughter is at an age where the whole world seems put here purely for her amusement and I love it. I don’t want her to ever lose that, to never stop laughing.
Previously published on thirstydaddy.com.
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