Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Look for the Smilemarkers

A sliver of moon was showing in the sky the other day while I was playing outside with my grandson, David (4yrs). As usual he wanted to know why. I told him the moon wanted to play with him. Later he was drinking chocolate milk on the front porch and said, "The moon is drinking chocolate milk. He has a chocolate milk mustache."

I love it when a four year old can use his imagination and make a joke. I love it when a four year old accidentally amuses me. David was riding in the van with his dad when he announced, "I want my crocs (sandals)." His dad stopped the car and asked him what he was wearing on his feet. David replied in all seriousness, "Dad, I'm wearing my toes."

Children and laughter go hand in hand. I love being a grandmother and not having to do much of anything when I babysit but enjoy the kids. My two year old granddaughter loves to play hide and seek in her house. She always hides in her closet and she always tells me she's going to hide in her closet. When I try to go home she frequently tells me "You're hungry and you need to eat," in order to keep me there. LOL. She already knows my weakness.

There's a lot of evidence that laughter is good medicine. The Reader's Digest knew that before there were studies proving it.

I use a lot of silly humor when I teach. To teach the ang sound I have a picture-card of a vampire with fangs showing. I'll put on my best Transylvanian accent, make my hands into claws, and say," I vant to bite your neck; I vish to suck your blood." The kids all shriek and laugh and are more likely to remember that ang makes the sound you hear in fang.

I have a game that involves tossing a soft ball back and forth between me and a group of kids while saying math facts. I love to watch for the kid who stops paying attention and I'll look at another child while throwing the ball at the daydreamer who frequently gets hit by the ball which cracks everyone up and serves notice to pay attention.

Today I was on Lapbandtalk, which has become my on-line support group and one of the women told a hysterically funny dream she'd had about another member of the group. Can't repeat it here because it involved partial nudity and showing off a well-shaped body part. Jokes were still flying hours later when I checked back in.

Some of the best and funniest speakers I ever heard were recovering alcoholics telling their stories at open AA meetings. Some of the things they did and the situations they got themselves into were, in retrospect, hysterically funny. Without the humor, they'd have been too painful to tell. The funniest stories I tell on myself involve my ADHD and some of the things I've done as a result.

Humor makes pain palatable. I'm not talking about sarcasm or angry ranting expletive deleted humor. Frankly, I don't consider that humor because it tends to be at other's expense. I'm talking about self-deprecating humor. Humor that gently pokes fun at the human condition but doesn't denigrate others.

One of the funniest stories my deceased mother-in-law told involved driving off to work with her teeth on top of the car. One of the funniest stories my son tells is what happened when he tied our 6 month old 75 lb. Chesapeake Bay Retriever to a lightweight charcoal grill in my parent's driveway. Thank God for the passing motorist who chased down the dog and stopped him before the grill chasing the dog down the street caused the dog to drop dead of a heart attack.

These stories and jokes we tell each other can only happen in community. We weren't created to live in isolation. And I firmly believe that God laughs with us. We're created in his image and he loves us with all our foibles so he must have quite a sense of humor. Humor is his gift to us, a gracelet that allows us to be refreshed, renewed, re-created and ready for the next thing life throws at us.

So, even though food addiction is a serious disease, I try not to take myself too seriously. Life is a journey. Look for the smilemarkers along the way.