I love to laugh. It’s my favorite past time. It is good for the soul.
I laugh when I’m happy, scared, nervous or on a terrifying amusement park ride.
My husband and children find me in a crowd listening for my laugh.
My brother’s friend once told him how much he liked being around me because I made him feel like he was funny. “She’s that way with everyone,” he said. So much for comedic encouragement.
But there have been seasons of my life void of laughter. Tears mostly. Loneliness and longing. Dry times–except for those tears. I remember looking at a quote I had during one of them that said, “He who laughs lasts.” Well… I guess I’m a gonner, I thought.
When I think about my life I categorize it as 2 or 3 different lives.
My first life was with my husband of nearly 21 years. We decided that I would be a stay at home mom with our kids–good thing since we had so many, daycare would’ve put us in the hole. I skipped a career and opted to be the CEO of our family. I poured my heart into it. I made one salary work with our family of seven by cooking from scratch, shopping at garage sales, second hand stores and clearance racks, grocery shopping the ads and discounts. I crafted Christmas gifts and opened our home to gatherings rather than going out somewhere. Despite our small income and large family, we had a happy home. I never really felt deprived and found great satisfaction in what I did. I laughed a lot. Not that there weren’t crazy hectic days, days that I waited at the door for my husband to come home so I could run out of it for some peace of mind. The kids were little and life was full.
Then cancer hit our home with such force it knocked me over. Within 2 months of my husband’s diagnosis he was gone and I had five children to parent alone. This is life number two.
I never expected to be a single mom. My husband and I often fantasized about what we would do after the kids were gone. Maybe we’d go to culinary school in France and drive around in a motorcycle with a sidecar. Silly, I know. We were silly.
This new life was scary and big and lonely. How could I parent these kids alone? I had a great partner and friend to share hopes, dreams, frustrations and impossibilities with but now it was just me….
Not a lot of laughter here, a lot of tears. Grief, mistakes, trauma for both my kids and I.
I was a single mom for nine years. I went back to school. I worked at a coffee shop, taught Zumba classes and opened my own business. My kids had to learn to live with a working single parent.
Life number three. I am now an old newlywed. It has come with it’s challenges. Two very different lives lived, baggage lugged into a new relationship. We have learned to unpack and be vulnerable. Learned to walk a new way together. Today I laugh. I’m thankful for who I am now. It has been a winding road with so many different vistas, beautiful sunsets and storms that have whipped me off my feet. But I am standing, here, now. By the beautiful grace of God
Laughter is my favorite thing. But tears…. They hold a story of their own. The depths that have been forged in my life from this journey I won’t regret. The strength I have gained, makes me stand up straight and tall. Is this the life I would’ve chosen…. No. But it’s my life… and it’s a good life.