Make Them Laugh

Lessons in Parenthood: Week 2

Well, I made it to the second week of this writing challenge, jet lag and all. When your mind is struggling between two time zones on opposite ends of the earth it’s a miracle if you get anything done.

I haven’t been the only one struggling either. Olivia is awake at 1am and there’s been no hope of getting her back to sleep until after 4am. She’s generally in a good mood, but, as you can imagine, we’ve been on a daily emotional rollercoaster a few times. It’s not alwasy easy to find inspiration in the midst of chaos. As I was reflecting on this week and what I had learned from my little girl, it felt as though I was rummaging through an empty box.

In addition to this writing challenge I started an inspirational journal full of lists focused on happiness. The first list was to write things that make you happy right now. The first thing I wrote down was “Olivia’s laugh.” Then the prompt was to find ways to do a few of these things every day. I made a goal to make Olivia laugh every day. It was something for her as well as for me.

Even before I started this list, I noticed how much fun and happiness it brought to our day when Olivia and I had a good laugh. Most of the time it’s just being goofy and ridiculous. As adults, we tend to get weighed down by the seriousness of life. We stop playing. We stop being silly. We even get annoyed with childish antics. It’s never something we decide for, it’s just something we gradually become as we evolve through adulthood.

When Olivia came into our life, I saw the opportunity to become like a child again.

If one was willing, one could live through their child’s experiences and feel what it felt to be a child: that beautiful stage of life filled with limitless wonder.

I wanted to do that. Getting away from being so serious by getting on the level of a 2-year-old was a way for me to enjoy life more fully. Part of my personality is that I tend to be too serious and have trouble simply letting go. When Olivia got to the age where she really wanted to play together I saw that I could either become her playmate or find playmates for her and remain her adult parent.

Since making this little pact to laugh every day, I’ve learned a beautiful lesson. Not only are children hilarious, they are wonderful in that they are quick to forgive and quick to move on. I can lose my cool, fall apart, choose an unkind word or two, and yet, if I apologize to Olivia in a moment everythig is forgotten and we can get back to having fun. She doesn’t hold it against me. She doesn’t bring it up in an argument later on. She simply lives in the present. This is such an invaluable quality that I want to do everything in my power to preserve it in her as long as possible.

Our days are happier, lighter, and brighter since we’ve been laughing together. I’m a better parent, I’m more fun, Olivia and I have a better relationship. Who knew laughter was such good parenting?

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