Laugh More

This year I’ve decided to have one simple New Year’s resolution: laugh more. I shared this with Henry on New Year’s Day. He responded with “well it’s working because you’re already ten percent funnier.” I’m not sure about that, but I’m going with it. We celebrated by watching Bridesmaids, which I may have been the last person in the US to see but was uproarious.

Today we had a closing. This is my first closing in North Carolina without the assistance of my dad. Typically he reads through the entire contract with you, which can be quite a lengthy process. But he had a funeral to attend and nothing trumps a funeral in my dad’s eyes. That naturally lad to sharing some of our favorite stories about funerals with our notary.

Early in our relationship, Henry wrote an essay, which he read on the local NPR affiliate, describing his first experience of seeing a dead body. (Open caskets being a Southern thing, you know.) This happened to be my mom’s uncle Calvin. Unfortunately this happened way before everything was captured on MP3. So we can’t go back and listen to his pontifications now. Surely he has that essay tucked away on a cassette tape somewhere. I just remember he described Calvin’s really pink skin.  

Then there was the story from Cheryl’s funeral when Henry was the lead pallbearer. I’m not sure why he went first. Maybe because of his height? But at the end of the graveside service, the person from the funeral home told him, in a whispered, deep, Southern drawl, to “stick it in the spray and move on.” He hesitaited and the funeral director said once again, “stick it in the spray and move on.” Finally it became clear that he was supposed to take his boutonniere off  and place it in the flower arrangement on top of the casket. But the hesitation and perplexed look on Henry’s face was hilarious and became a family reference ever since.

Prior to deciding that laughter was my New Year’s resolution, I had already tested the waters at Thanksgiving. Somehow as we were gathered around my aunt’s dining room table topped with a stunning fresh cut flower arrangement and a bounty of fruits, we found ourselves discussing poop. I have no idea why. I can’t remember the actual conversation. But I know that I unintentionally instigated it, which is completely out of character for me. I think about all of the contemplation over family discussions regarding the recent election and we skipped it entirely. I had a really great time. In fact we ended the evening by planning to meet once a month on a select day as a family resolution. So I think our gathering was a success. And for that I am very grateful. I’ve already sent out January’s evite.

This fall, it has been my practice to focus on two things as part of my more activist lifestyle. First is to draw near to God, which I do through daily spiritual practice (ideally) and spending time with others. And second, I focus on speaking out on THE main issue that is important to me. Not every issue I care about. That’s not the same thing as challenging another loved ones’ beliefs. I save it for when I’m “working” or for anyone who asks.  And for those of you who think otherwise, I apologize. I do try to restrain myself. 

Right before Christmas, I finished reading the book “Dying to Be Me” by Anita Moorjani. I found it affirmed the notion I have been sensing over the last several months:  it’s all about our vibe and affirming the essence of who we are. I learned this lesson through my artwork Bonsho the hard way, which I hope to write about soon. 

Moorjani’s most important piece of advice was that we should laugh more. Pretty simple. I like it. So that’s what 2017 is all about for me. Laughter. Parenting is way better when you are trying to be silly. I’m hoping to keep it up. 

As always, great wisdom is found in Mary Poppins.

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