Monday, July 25, 2011

Always laughing?

Having a sense of humor is:

a. valuable
b. preferable
c. mandatory
d. all of the above

Standing at the sink, I made statement "a" like an opening bid then raised it to "b" before Jim added "c" and the correct answer "d."

In progressive waves, we have realized this truth. Was a time, we could not laugh. At the mere suggestion we'd make the cynical retort, "It's that or cry." Worse yet, "shut up, it is not funny!" which I think I actually said to my mom when she suggested, "it helps to have a sense of humor about it, don't you think?"

"It" being the precarious predicaments Reid gets himself (and us) into or our inability to control him. At the time, it may have been climbing into a recycling bin or cutting to the front of an ice cream line unabashedly.

Another time, a college buddy of ours came to visit with his family of four from Ohio. We hadn't seen them in years nor met each other's kids. The hallmark of this guy (and his wife coincidentally enough) has always been his sense of humor. On and on the stories go, of spring break trips when he used cream cheese to soothe his sunburned face since Noxema was unavailable. Or numerous one-liners he's coined which live on in our collective family lexicon but make no sense cause "you had to be there" for his Chaplin-esque delivery.

Leave it to them to identify the humor in our family dynamic. It was his wife who said, "So are you just laughing all the time?" For that was their experience of a day with Reid. What a funny, entertaining household must be created by his antics. Hahahaha...the possibility gave me pause. When had amusing become annoying and how could we go back?

Yesterday, for whatever cumulation of reasons, Jim and I were genuinely, simultaneously, heartily both belly laughing with Reid (not at him which is a key distinction) in public! It felt like a milestone of joy replacing grief. Reid's exuberant joy superceded any vestige of anger and fear we used to hold.

On the way home from the beach we had stopped for the ritual Roberto's burrito. Often we get it togo. Tonight Kool and the Gang was wafting through the outdoor patio seating area which drew Reid out like a magnet. While Jim ordered at the window, Reid was in plain view. I saw him approach a solitary male diner but could not hear what he said. The man bemusedly looked around for a parent or some explanation. I laid low in the car in my barefeet and modest cover up. He hadn't done enough to require my intervention.

Then began a series of dance moves in between the two-top tables. Starting with a little step ball change, he transitioned to the Snook torso twist, the Linus and Lucy dance, then what looked like the Elmo slide from my vantage point. The sequence brought unavoidable chuckles from a neighboring table of 2 men.

Jim rounded the corner of the building, grinned at his dancing fool and offered his own woot woot and Latin hip movement to the party. To which Reid shouted, "let's get Mom!" "Let's all dance....come on mom get outta the car."

I tried to duck, hide behind my hand, and lower my gaze but the entire town had eyeballed me by the time Reid got to the driver's side car door. He opened it and tried to pull me out across the front console. I had to go now. The last time this happened I was in a wedding dress back-paddling out of the mosh pit Jim's (they-don't-call-him-Gumby-for-nothing) relatives had formed at our wedding. I've changed since then. For this time I raised my hand above my head and busted out my best John Travolta Sunday Night Fever move as I came around the car.

So much for take out. We sat there groovin' and movin' enjoying how contagious joy can be...and grateful we'd caught it!