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the joy of laughter

the joy of laughter

by Judy
January 31, 2013 

There is nothing so delightful and beautiful as a shared laugh. For some reason, with my mother, when she does or says something funny or when I do or say something funny, we laugh together and that laughter creates its own laughter and then like a ball set in motion we find ourselves just laughing. It’s an infectious laughter that springs from deep inside, can bring tears to the eyes and a deep sense of oneness. Sometimes my mother will ask me, “Why are you laughing? “And I’ll say, “Because you are laughing,” as we no longer remember what that initial spark was that set us off and it doesn’t really matter – even that is funny.  This laughter could be compared to young children when they are playing together, being silly and just love laughing at almost anything. It’s similar and different because this is between two adults who have both lived and experienced a lot; had their fair share of suffering and know each other very well. Now something has been stripped away and released.

I don’t knew exactly why this happens; what the ingredients are between two people that create this kind of dynamic, but I do know it has happened with only a few people in my life. It’s like the underlying foundation in the relationship is one of joy and humor and delight.

In exploring deeper and going into this shared laughter, I realize as I look back that this is a new emergence in my relationship with my mother. It has definitely not always been there. For many years when I was younger, I would laugh with my mom for sure, but it wasn’t a prominent feature of our relationship. I often felt like I couldn’t quite let go with her. I think this is not an uncommon occurrence between parent and child. In my case, here were these two women, my mother and myself, coming from very different life experiences.  My mother, born during World War I from Jewish immigrants, lived through the depression, World War ll and then started a family. Her focus was initially on security and material gain and then working hard, giving to her husband and children and in later life, painting and traveling. She lived by certain codes of behavior, certain social values: the value of family above all else, friends and being a “good person.” Then I came into being, born post World War ll, already a recipient of the good life and thrown into a world with rapidly changing values. On one hand the focus was on caring for mankind, on fairness, equality and wanting to find a deeper meaning in life and at the same time the attention was on me, my inner world of feelings and thoughts.

Our world views were different and for many years that difference created a kind of separation between us. I never quite fit how she wanted me to be and she never quite fit how I wanted her to be. For her, I was a bit of a mystery and “lost in the clouds” and for me, she was this dynamic woman, always on the go and not quite deep enough.

So what changed? Why is it that now all that has dropped away and we can just totally be with each other? I can see now that we both changed. Over the years– a softening, more tolerance, less criticism, more appreciation for each other... up until now when this change has gone even further. On my mom's side, the preoccupations, worry and need to keep everything in control have dropped and on my side, all the ideas of how I should be or how we should be have dropped.

So on both sides, there is a letting go, a relaxing and now we can enjoy each other’s sense of humor, “play” with each other, even kid each other in the lightest way. My mother is truly surrendered to her life conditions, allowing herself to be cared for and as Andrea so beautifully wrote in her last blog, “content to just be.” In that “just beingness” this playful “repartee”, can flower; this laughter that tickles the soul can be unleashed and so much love can be expressed. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. And then there are these precious moments when we can just laugh in pure utter abandonment.

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