This finishes up my post about my family reunion. It is part 3: laughter.
The family reunion had been going on for a few hours. Dinner and dessert was behind us. Photo books were open, stories exchanged, Italian spoken, songs sung.... as I stood back, the laughter percolated the atmosphere like a faint, delicious scent. It was the laughter that filled the room. It connected the past and present and I felt secure. The memories of my grandparents were vivid; it was as if they were in the room with us - in the laughter.
In this room, sat my aunt who talked about her two conversations with President Kennedy while my uncle talked about what it was like to be among the first of the liberation forces to come across concentration camp victims in WWII under Hitler's regime. My two daughters absorbed stories of growing up in Italy, New York and Oakland, Ca. The room was filled with people representing the entire world, of different ages and backgrounds, joined through family, friendship, history and travel - but most of all, it was the laughter that connected them.
"Children are said to laugh a great deal more than adults; an average baby laughing 300-400 times a day to an average adult laughing 15-20 times a day, however the cited article, written by one of the two top humor researchers in the world, establishes there is no real basis to this claim". Despite the exact number, it seems laughter is constant and early but diminishes the older we get. Laughter was a constant ingredient in my grandparents home.
In my post about Robert Redford from February of this year, Redford talks about the laughter after President Kennedy was assassinated. He described it as a harsh, lost innocence-type of laughter. The laughter in Nana and Papa's home was a release of the pressures of growing up. Each of the grandkids grew up in broken, tense homes where the pressures of life weighed heavily on our parents. Our summers spent there provided a respite from the turbulent seas. Impersonations and an on-stage presence where laughter bubbled up from deep within our souls. That is what calmed us - laughter.
I married someone funny and all three of our children are hilarious. They each have ventured out beyond their homes, and therefore have great stories to tell. It really is a wonderful gift. Although, I have learned to "run with the big-dogs" in terms of a sense of humor, it isn't my natural "go-to" approach to life. It must be cultivated and encouraged. Where I am an introvert at heart, there are people around me that get re-engergized by people. Each of us know people like that and although we can't all be the same, we can learn and grow from their innate ability to laugh.
So- last week i made pork chops for dinner. I automatically thought to buy apples to make applesauce.. Naturally, when my husband got home from work he started in with "pork chops and applesauce" and reminded me it came from the "Brady Bunch". We laughed.
We may not all be a Humphrey Bogart (like Peter's Brady's impersonation) but we might be the Lauren Bacall to Bogart's swag or a Robin to Batman's caped crusader. The point is each of us are unique and bring to the table eclectic qualities. Our stories have not yet been finished. We are in the process of "becoming". The question is, who are you? Are you comfortable in who you are? If not, take the challenge and change. Feel at home in your own shoes.
In a final wrap-up, I'm glad I took the time to initiate a family reunion. Yes- it took time and money but in it, I walked away with something greater than money, relationships. The challenge? Have the eyes to notice people around you and then invest your time in those people. Have hands to make a difference. And finally, laugh. Life is too short not to.
Connect, love and be loved.
Information regarding laughter found in wikipedia. See link.
A person who searches for depth and beauty in the simple things.