Growing up, it didn’t seem to me that our family really did anything fun. Sure, we went to Hawaii twice and a road trip up the California coast once in our 1980’s era wood paneled Chevy Citation station wagon. (FYI, when you live in California, that’s not a big deal.) I know my parents tried to do fun things with us, but it was always a bit, well, awkward and strained.
(I’m sure I’ll hear about this from my father, as I did last week here.)
Our recollections are our own, even if they are not shared.
I don’t remember just hanging out and enjoying each others’ company. I did that with friends and not at home. We were not exactly Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, you dig?
I can only remember one time when I actually laughed so hard that I cried.
My father, grandma, sister and I were having dinner at our little glass and brass kitchen table. It was just the four of us in the house then. My sister was probably in junior high; I’m sure I was early high school and not home much. We were probably having ground round and onions, my father’s favorite meal. Or pork chops fried to the point of leather, my Grandma’s specialty. She tried, God love her. We weren’t formal at the dinner table. For example, at Thanksgiving dinner with my Aunt and her family, we threw the rolls across the room instead of passed them. I do not recommend doing this with your spouse’s family unless they actually subscribe to the funky bunch idea. All I remember from one random weekday dinner is that there was a huge bowl of green peas. I mean, LARGE. Like she nuked the entire bag of frozen green peas and put them in a bowl usually reserved for serving salad.
My sister said something snarky to my Grandma. This was weird since I was the sarcastic cuss and my sister was usually pretty reserved. Surprisingly, my Father seemed to let it pass and, instead, Grandma took matters into her own hands. She said nothing and casually picked up the bowl of peas. While still holding her fork and not even looking at my sister, she dumped the entire bowl over the head of my sister. Then put down the bowl and kept eating.
Boosh, went the peas. It. Was. Awesome.
While the two dogs noticed that there were peas rolling around on the floor, a bonus doggie treat, my Grandma never even flinched. My sister, on the other hand, sat there dumbfounded. The peas trickled down her face and slowly got caught in her long hair.
Then she started laughing. Then I started laughing.
That kind of laughing where you can’t catch your breath, your eyes water and your face turns red. Your belly hurts and people think you are going to convulse soon. That kind of awesome laughter overtook us that night.
I’m sure my Grandma and Father followed.
I think this was the start of the snort-laughing on the part of my sister and I. More I than her, I’m afraid.
Which brings us to last night and our random Thursday after dinner dance party. Rick and I (and the girls’ Dad and step-mom in their house) want our kids to remember fun and laughter. Spontaneity and silliness. Music and a bit of mayhem.
I think we have this down. I often snort laugh now, which pleases my sister to no end. Consider the videos below. Our son instigates most of these and keeps the household light and silly. You can hear my snorts behind the camera.
I wish you fun and laughter in your house. A lot can be remedied with both.