The Best Medicine

There is something about laughing.  Like full on, uncontrollable, sincere laughter.  I’m the silent hysterical laughter type.  My mouth is wide open but I emit no sound.  Tears run from my eyes and I have trouble catching my breath.  And if something really tickles me, I Can’t Stop.  The only thing better than this type of laughter is having someone join you in your convulsive giggles.  Because really, there’s something strange about finding so much humor in something, and everyone else getting a bigger kick out of watching YOU laugh but not finding what you’re laughing at the least bit funny.  This actually happens to me quite often.  Something sets me off, and I can’t contain my laughter and the more I try to restrict it, the harder I laugh.  Everyone else in the room may be just staring at me, but the tears keep rolling. But when you’re with someone and you BOTH are at your pinnacle of laughter, slapping each other with each gasp, leaning on each other’s shoulders as you both shake from the funnies… THAT is pure HAPPY.  I wish I could remember the last time this happened to me.  I hope it wasn’t last week watching the Old Spice ad with the man on the horse (and Tim)… it may have been though, which just clearly indicates that I need to get out more.

I do wish I laughed more.  Sure, I smile a lot.  My kids make me giggle.  I write “LOL” throughout the day on tweets and emails.  I have a husband who works really hard to make me laugh (and usually does even if I’m rolling my eyes at the same time).  But I wish there were more occasions to really LAUGH.  And as I wonder why there aren’t, I realize that you have to be in a certain frame of mind to let yourself laugh.  What cracks me up one day, certainly may not the next.  I know this is something that frustrates Hannah.  There are nights where she’ll come tiptoeing over to me with her little fingers in tickle mode and I’ll start giggling before she even touches my feet/neck/belly.  And we end up on the floor in a fit of tickle attacks. But there are others… nights where I’m exhausted from too many tantrums, have a headache, I still haven’t cooked dinner, Luke is standing in his highchair, etc, and those fingers waggling in front of me, just make me angry.  “Stop Tickling Me Hannah!” I’ll shout.  And she’ll look at me with those big confused eyes and say, “but you laughed yesterday mommy”.  Explaining the concept of “timing” to a 5 year old is not always so easy.  We’re just not always “set up” or ready to laugh.  Most days and nights, my frame of mind is not on laughing. It’s on getting through the routine.  And keeping everyone safe. And then resting.  And relaxing.  And talking.  But not laughing.  Laughing is sometimes work.

And that’s sad.  It shouldn’t be like that.

I also find that there are certain people who really don’t like to laugh.  Or at least they ACT like they don’t like to laugh.  Their mouths barely open when the chuckle escapes from their lips and they turn away before they are really caught in the act.  I’m not sure what their deal is.  Either they don’t like to not be the funny one, they won’t admit when someone else is funny, or they don’t like the out of control feeling that true laughter ensues.  They don’t like to not have control of their emotions.  You might think this sounds ridiculous but I actually had a conversation with someone rather close to me about this.  Although it was in regards to massages. He told me that he’s never had a massage.  Has no interest.  I asked him if it was because he is uncomfortable with someone touching him or afraid of being tickled and he said, “No. I just don’t want someone else having control over making me feel good.  I like to make MYSELF feel good (mind out of the gutter ladies.. not like THAT).  It would be weird to have someone so in charge of my feelings. (or something along those lines).”  That struck me as so strange!  If I could pay someone every day to have the sole responsibility of making me feel good throughout the day, I’d do it.  I don’t WANT to be responsible for making myself feel good all day long.  I guess there are differing opinions there.  And maybe this type of person doesn’t love to have someone else make them laugh either.  Maybe they’d rather crack themselves up.

There are also the people who say, “Oh, that’s funny!” but never really laugh.  In my opinion if you’re just saying, “That’s funny” but you’re not actually SHOWING with some emotion that you see the humor, you don’t think it’s funny.  Also, saying, “Ha Ha Ha” or “HMPH! (sounds like a quick little chortle from the nose)” is not laughing.  If that’s what you do when you’re feeling giggly, you need to go to Laugh School.  Or maybe you just need to relax a little and Let It Out.  I’m waiting for the day when I’ll be talking to someone and they’ll just say out loud, “L O L”.

I wish I could be five again when I’m at a party and telling a story that I know is funny and I’m expecting a good reaction.  It often happens (much to Tim’s dismay) that I start laughing before I even finish the story I’m telling therefore making it impossible for anyone to even hear the end or overhyping how funny the story actually is.  And then I’m SO disappointed when no one is laughing. Or I am noticing that they are giving me some fake laugh. Which doesn’t fly with me.  If it were Hannah in this situation she’d say, “HEY!  Why aren’t you laughing?  Don’t you think I’m funny?” That’s what I’d like to say.  Instead I usually just continue laughing into my wine glass and saying something like, “Oh I guess you had to be there…” Thankfully Tim usually comes to my aid with his arm around me saying,”She needs to stop drinking so much…”

I think if you were to survey most parents about the sound they love most, a large percent of them would say, “the sound of my kid/baby’s laugh”.  The gasping giggles. The red faced belly laughs.  It makes us as parents feel So Good.  Like we’re doing Something Right.  Babies don’t know HOW to contain that laughter.  They haven’t even learned that it’s an option.  I wish it was never an option to NOT laugh if something is funny.  To stifle a laugh should be as impossible as stopping a sneeze.  Just not an option. I’d be able to end tantrums so much easier that way.  Witching hour would be a lot less witchy.  Dinner parties with stiff guests would be a lot more enjoyable.  Maybe it would even help with the clique issue in the teenage years?  The popular girl would HAVE to laugh at the Shy Bookworm if she said something funny, making Shy Bookworm feel so much better about herself and maybe even becoming friends with the popular girl because they have the same sense of humor!  Everyone would be friends with everyone!  Oh the possibilities!

Come on, a girl can dream can’t she?  Remember I was the one who wanted to do away with Numbers, right?

And now I’m off, to find some laughter in this rainy, tantrum filled, sleepy day.

What makes you laugh?  Do you have an infectious laugh?  Does it bother you when people “fake laugh?”



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32 responses to “The Best Medicine

  1. I often remark about my guilt about how my kids don’t really know what to expect out of me. That something I thought was funny yesterday, might not be today — might actually get them in trouble today. It’s not fair, I think. But it just is. Mommy’s not always in the mood, you know?

    And more laughter? Yes. Can always use more laughter. But there is only so much laughing I can do with my kids and my husband. I find that the full-belly, tears-streaming-down-my-face kind of laughter comes when I’m with my mom or with girlfriends. And that I could surely use MORE of!

    • Why don’t we laugh more like that with our husbands? (I agree) Aren’t they the ones who we are supposed to be most comfortable with and make us happiest? Is it that we just can’t relax enough in our own homes to Let It Out?

  2. That photo of Hannah brought a smile to my face and then your mention of the Old Spice commercial made me giggle. So you’ve done more than your share for me today! 🙂

    I love this line: “To stifle a laugh should be as impossible as stopping a sneeze.” I think it is, sometimes, as long as we allow ourselves the frame of mind to make it so. I read once that even forcing yourself to laugh actually makes you happier. So maybe the key is to laugh more – whether or not we feel like it, whether or not something is even funny – so that we can embrace the real laughter when it comes? Not sure, but it sounds worth a try on a day as rainy and cold as it is here.

  3. I can still remember the first time I full-on, whole-body, tears-on-cheeks, couldn’t-stop-it laughed. Kindergarten. Playing blocks. With my friend Christina. And the sad thing is, I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve done it since. Why is that?? Thanks for the deep question today, Becca. I’m going to have to ponder it some more and pull out my tickle fingers after the kiddos wake up.

    • I find the tickle fingers work wonders for the whole family. I hope you got a laugh out of it! We need to work to find more occasions for laughter like this. We’d all be happier, I’m sure of it!

  4. I smile and laugh a lot. Sometimes I’m doing it on my own, but often it’s with someone else. My sister and friends are more likely to invoke a belly laugh. I think it’s the refreshing aspect of being just a silly girl rather than a wife and a mom.

    I don’t trust people who don’t laugh. There’s gotta be something wrong with them!

  5. My husband and I share the same kind of humor, and once he gets laughing, I cannot help myself.

    But I think that we do need to be a little more willing to get ourselves to that point, to laughing. Maybe, we need to find the humor in more things…maybe we just need to let go…

    • Yes… Let. Go. My mom told me yesterday that her yoga instructor told her about a Laugh Yoga class. Doesn’t that sound counter-intuitive? Does to me but she said they have you start the class with forced “Ha Ha Ha” laughter and by the end of the yoga class, you’re really laughing! Sounds totally weird and probably annoying but it shows that full relaxation CAN bring the laughter!

  6. Becca, I used to get into one of those horrible can’t-stop-laughing- fits in the worst places, like with a friend in a college lecture hall, where I knew if I looked at her one more time, I would die! And get kicked out of the class by the professor.

    I don’t like when someone’s laugh doesn’t reach their eyes. That’s kind of creepy. There should be merriment, right?

    • Oooh, I agree… I can’t trust a laugh/smile that is only in the mouth. A TRUE smile you can see even if you can only see the back of their head. It reaches their ears, forehead and shoulders. I remember in highschool getting into a fit of laughter at a gymnastics competition where it is DEAD silent. I was shaking and trying so hard to keep it in… didn’t work. I was so embarrassed. But the laugh was worth it!

  7. I find that the friendships I cherish most are the ones in which there is frequent unbridled hilarity. I’ve been lucky enough to have a group of friends from college who, even though we are spread all over the country, can fall right back into our old banter whenever we happen to be reunited, and the laughter always comes from the belly then. It’s my favorite kind.

    • I totally agree. If I can’t laugh, REAL laughter with someone, I can’t imagine being good friends with them. There is something lacking if you can’t laugh together. There’s either a lack of trust or a lack of understanding or just a differing in personalities where you just can’t click. My best laughter comes with my oldest and truest friends.

  8. Charlotte

    I noticed a while back that I rarely all out laughed anymore. I’ve made a better effort to let myself relax enough to laugh. It was hard at first, but is getting easier.

    I do love to hear my kids laugh. It is definitely magical. And when I laugh more, so do they.

    • I guess that’s why I laugh more when I have a glass of wine. It makes me relax so that I can actually find the humor in the things. Sleep helps too… the more rest I get, the more I can laugh.

  9. I laugh the same way you do! Lucas does NOT understand how I’ll sit with tears streaming down my face after watching a silly commercial that hit at the very right second to get me going. And then it won’t matter what the next one is, it’ll just make things worse! 🙂

  10. I’m a klutz and as a result I’m usually the first one to laugh at myself. Over the years, I’ve done goofball things to amuse my kids and my husband. You know how cheese sticks come in the long roll? I put the the sealed cheese sticks on my head and it looks like a British judge’s wig. Silly things like that. As the kids have gotten older, they do goofball things too and they bring me out of my darkest moods. Also, since the kids know that Mom can be unexpected, I’ve discovered that they’re much more comfortable talking about serious subjects. They have learned not to be embarrassed. Does that make sense?

    • You are an awesome mom Erica! You made me laugh picturing your cheese stick hair! Sounds like something my husband would do and I’d wish I had thought of it because of the reaction he got from the kids. I wish I could find Hannah’s goofball things funnier… sadly she usually does them at the most inopportune times and then I just get annoyed. I need to RELAX… and just let her goofiness shine through. It would make us all happier I’m sure. And I love that since you allow them to be so silly, they come to you more for the serious stuff. That’s reason enough to start NOW letting my kids feel comfortable with all of their emotions with me. And letting them see all of my sides too. Thanks for this.

  11. I laugh frequently. Especially when I post something ridiculous. What can I say?? : )

    My husband does a great job of making me laugh. Even when I DON’T WANT TO. But, that is how our relationship works. I make him laugh when he’s ticked, and he makes me laugh when I’m ticked. (Like tonight, for instance.)

    Yet, I have found that I don’t laugh nearly as much as I used to. I guess I should work on that!

    • I think the best partner is someone who knows you well enough to know how and WHEN to make you laugh. Sometimes I’m Just Not In the Mood to laugh and I need Tim to understand that. He usually does but sometimes… he tries anyway.

      Hopefully you had a laugh last night and are no longer ticked! 🙂

  12. I looove to laugh and do it as often as possible.
    I work nights and when I get over-tired I get really stupid(er). The other morning, I told John a joke and laughed so hard I cried: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?
    Because he was dead.
    Barely even makes me smile now, but that morning it was HI-larious!

    • Oh yes, the overtired laughter. I get that too. Either that or over-tired crying. I guess when you’re tired your emotions are one extreme or the other! And that joke? I can see if you’re in the right mood how it could make you laugh that hard. It’s like when something is SOOOOO ugly, it’s cute. Right?

  13. I know just how you feel about those crazy, tear streaming laughs that you have all on your own with others just watching you like you are lunatic. I know them well…and they seem to pay a visit just when I’m most tired and sometimes right when I need them. They are there own kind of therapy aren’t they. Haven’t had one in a while, need one soon!

  14. I had one of those bent-over bouts of laughter yesterday with a friend. It was so much fun.

    I’m one of those annoying people who sometimes, if she’s REALLY laughing hard, will snort. Agonizing, but true.

    Hubs and I both have the same twisted humor, which is good. And he’s like your man, he can make me laugh even when I’m ticked off!

    Miss M. has the best belly laugh EVER.

    • Oh, do tell what you laughed so hard at! Do you think you’d laugh today that hard at the same thing? Or were you just in the mood to laugh? I snort too… and then that makes me laugh that much harder. So feminine, right?

  15. laughter as they said, is the best medicine.. a real laugh is, matter of fact. thinking back, when is the last time i had a real guffaw type of laughter? i really cannot recall.. 🙂

  16. Wonderful photo of Hannah!

    And a wonderful post. Laughter is so important. And amidst all of our parenting struggles, life balance, and exploration of our inner selves it definitely gets lost.

    My favorite laughter? Contagious laugher. I love hearing someone else laugh in such a way that even if I don’t know why they’re laughing I can’t help myself but to dissolve in a fit of giggles myself. Thanks for this wonderful reminder of something that’s truly important.

    • I love contagious laughter too! I might not even know the person but if they are laughing in such a way that you KNOW something must have been truly hysterical, I can’t help but join in.

  17. I love to laugh and make others laugh as well. Sometimes I just can’t help myself and I end up embarrassing me kids.

    Just last Saturday night we were at our kid’s annual school fundraiser. I was introduced to one of Kyle’s Spanish teachers. He looked at me and told me that Kyle and I looked so much alike.

    I couldn’t help it… I had to say it…

    “But my boobs are so much bigger!”

    He laughed hysterically. Kyle, not so much, when I confessed my sin.

    • I love to make other people laugh too. And I’m SURE I’ll have my share of embarrassing my kids too. It’s ok, they’ll get over it and I’ll get a good laugh which is so healthy!

      I’m glad your boobs are bigger than your sons’ – that’s a REALLY good thing! 🙂

  18. Liz

    When I laugh….really laugh….I snort. SNORT! You can only imagine the looks I get…and sometimes it sets everyone else off to laugh b/c I am so ridiculous! Unfortunately, I do not laugh enough, either.

  19. Hello! Great question! I’m a pretty pessimistic, neurotic person but ironically I laugh a lot, and the hubs really makes laugh all the time, I think that is what keeps so in love even when things are crap…laughter! Btw-found you through TMC Network! Love your blog!

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