There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4
A while back, he was laughing at something that made absolutely no sense to me. When I asked him about it, he said, “That’s the best part about being a kid.” I thought he was referring to what he was laughing about, so I asked him to explain it to me. His response was, “Laughing. Kids laugh way more than grown-ups. And it feels good.” Then he paused for a moment and added, “To tell you the truth, grown-ups don’t laugh much.”
His words hit me hard. It felt like it wasn’t Mason talking: it was God talking to me through Mason, telling me that I’m taking it all too seriously. Obviously I was the grown-up Mason was talking about, and I haven’t been laughing much lately.
Some college friends organized an informal weekend reunion in the Berkshires last summer that I wasn’t able to attend due to health reasons. I hadn’t seen some of those people in over twenty-five years. So when they organized it again for this summer, I was bound and determined to go.
From the minute I got into my friend’s car for the three hour drive there, it was like traveling backwards in time, stepping back into my college years. The greatest care I had then was making it to an 8 a.m. class, or finding a coin operated washing machine that wasn’t busy. I was young, healthy, energetic, and full of dreams. I had a lightness of being that nothing, or no one, could weigh down. I was silly and adventurous and ready for anything.
Magically, I was that girl all weekend. And the greater magic was how much I laughed: not just a “ha-ha” or a chuckle, but deep, bent over at the waist belly laughs (where I actually did pee just a little bit. I’ve had three kids, after all!). I laughed so hard and so much over the course of those forty-eight hours that I came home with a sore throat.
It was the best sore throat that I have ever had! It was my trophy: an affirmation that I do have a joyful heart, that I can still be so silly that I laugh until I can’t breath, until I scrape my throat raw. Proverbs 17:22 says “A joyful heart is good medicine.” That weekend was absolutely the best medicine for me. I came home happier, lighter than I have been in a while.
I’ve thought a lot about that weekend, and the shift that happened in me. I’ve wondered why I had to escape my life in order to laugh that hard. I truly do love my husband and kids, and I have never felt so fulfilled as I do as a mom. Moreover, my husband and kids are actually very funny people. I should be laughing that hard on a daily basis, in my own home, but I don’t.
Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh.” I think there’s also a time to be a mom, and a time to be just me. I think that’s the point: we are not supposed to be swallowed whole by our vocation. If I don’t take breaks, if I don’t step away and refill and refuel, I lose myself, become too heavy, weighted down by all the “to do’s” on my list and in my life. Deep laughter only happens when I feel light.
My kids are getting older; they’re becoming more independent. It’s not as challenging now to get some space. I need to remember my weekend away and the lesson that I learned. If I can routinely create some space where I can refill and refuel, be just me and not a mom, I’ll be better able to maintain my joyful heart. Once that happens, hopefully I’ll be belly laughing, on a regular basis, in my own home.
Thank you so much for reading! I would be immensely grateful if you voted for my blog.
If you’re not already on the home page of “Shifting My Perspective,” click on the title of this post. Then simply click the cute pink and brown “Top Mommy Blog” icon in the upper right hand corner of my home page. It’s that simple! That wonderful site ranks mommy blogs based on votes. So feel free to vote up to once a day! Thanks so much!
Wow, Mason!! What an insightful comment. I have been recently thinking to myself that I need to lighten up and smile more and just have fun with my kids instead of nagging and giving orders and cooking and cleaning. Today I did cannonballs in the pool and dove for divesticks. It felt great to just play and have fun. My kids actually thanked me for going into the pool with them. I need to do more of that. Mason’s comment is going to be permanently etched in my brain. Thanks, Mason! And thanks, Claire, for this post!
It sounds like you had so much fun with your kids! I’m sure they loved it! And I’m sure once we go rollerskating and line dancing, there will be tons of laughter!!! Can’t wait!