Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 39: Lessons in Laughter | Everyday Nostalgia

childhood-everyday-nostalgia

Soft morning light gently nudges my eyes open, and I’m greeted by the appearance of a large picture window. Unfamiliar heavy, brown curtains frame its edges, and—for a moment—I don’t know where I am.

But as my senses begin to wake, I hear something: The sounds of hand washing and the voices of my mother and my daughter, Zoey—sounds that are happily interspersed with peals of infectious laughter—and I remember that Zoey and I are sharing a Wisconsin hotel room with my parents. Later today, we will attend my cousin’s early fall wedding.

The unforgiving, uncomfortable bed I’m laying in creaks beneath me as I roll over toward the direction of where the sounds are coming from. A full-length mirror hangs on the wall opposite the bathroom, and in it, though I can barely make out their reflection, I can see those faces I love. They both hold an expression I would only be able to describe as ‘bliss.’

Not wanting to get up and disturb their fun, I pull the covers back up around me. I close my eyes again and stay there, smiling, listening to those comforting, joyful sounds.

But then, in between her giggles, Zoey finally speaks.

“Are we going to laugh all day, Grammy Sue?”

“Yes,” I hear my mom answer. “And it will be the best day ever.”

* * *

Although my memory of that morning laughter—of that brief conversation between my daughter and mother—is only a year old, I feel it will be one that will stay with me forever.

I’m not exactly sure why I think this. Perhaps it was the passionate eagerness of Zoey’s question. Perhaps it was the loving look on her face as she gazed up at my mother, a look I recognized as one that has surely met my own for years. Perhaps it was the familiar sound of my mother’s laughter, a sound that has been a constant companion of mine for as long as I can remember. Perhaps it was the definitiveness of my mother’s answer, an answer that gave Zoey—and me—every reason to believe that the day would be the best one ever.

Yet it’s most likely because that moment was wrapped in the glistening, shimmering strands of laughter, that beautiful sound that seems woven into so many of my happiest and fondest memories, a sound that has echoed in the lifetime of my bones.

The audible expression of laughter is one of the first ways we are able to connect with the people around us: As children, we have the ability to laugh before we are able to speak. That’s such an amazing thing, isn’t it? Thinking that we begin our lives on such a high note?

I want to remember that one of my first instincts in life was to express joy, and that this instinct was one that was encouraged and cultivated in me as a child. This powerful gift is something I hope to pass on to Zoey, and it is something I hope to remember as I continue to live my days:

That leading with laughter will always make a day—and a life—happier.

That leading with laughter will always be the most perfect antidote for pain and darkness and struggle.

That leading with laughter will always have the power to make everything better.

life-better-laughing-everyday-nostalgia

* * *

I wake up on Saturday to a dark apartment, the sound of rain, and two little hands holding my own.

“Mommy,” Zoey whispers as she moves closer to me.

I sleepily open one eye and put my arm around her.

“What’s up, buttercup?” I ask.

“I’m cold,” she says as she pulls the covers up tighter around us. “Can we just stay in bed all day?”

As nice as that sounds, I remember we have a fun day planned.

“Today we’re getting stuff for your new desk, and there’s that cupcake decorating activity at the library,” I remind her. “And we’re going to lunch, and then we need to get the ingredients to make pizza tonight!”

“Oh, right!” Zoey says, throwing the covers back. “Come on! Let’s get moving!”

I smile as I point toward the window. “But it’s cold out, and it’s supposed to rain on and off, so we’ll have to make sure to bundle up.”

Zoey jumps off the bed and leaves my room for a minute. When she comes back, she’s holding the plastic curve of a long handle that disappears into a nylon sea of pink and green flowers.

“And don’t worry, Mommy,” Zoey ensures me. “I’ll be in charge of the umbrella.”

* * *

We get ready and begin going about our day, but since it’s not raining every time we get out of the car, we keep forgetting the umbrella. Yet for some reason, without fail, every time we emerge from a store, the sky decides to open up and shower us with raindrops as we run toward our car.

Yet Zoey and I have come to an unspoken decision that we won’t let the day’s rain deter the fun we are having. Because every trip back to the car involves puddle-jumping, splashing, catching raindrops on our tongues, and laughing.

Lots and lots of laughing.

As we step outside the library—our bellies full of sweet unicorn cupcakes—it’s not just sprinkling outside, it’s pouring. I ask if Zoey wants to wait to leave until the rain lets up, but she shakes her head and heads out into the deluge.

I follow her happy squeals all the way back to the car.

“Oh, my gosh, Zoey, we’re soaking wet,” I say after we’re safe inside. I reach to turn the heat up. “Aren’t you freezing?”

“Not really,” she says between her giggles. “Sharing my laughter with you keeps me warm enough.”

And suddenly, I realize what Zoey has been doing all day.

She’s been forgetting the umbrella on purpose.

* * *

By the time we are running our last errand of the day, it’s late, and the rain hasn’t let up.

I walk quickly around the car and open Zoey’s door. In the parking spot next to us, a woman has her own backseat door open. She shields the top of her head with what appears to be a sweater, but the loose, knitted material can’t withstand the heavy drops  landing on it.

Zoey steps out of the car as the woman starts speaking.

“Come on, honey,” the woman begs. “I’m sorry I forgot the umbrella. And it’s just rain. It won’t hurt you.”

I notice a boy around Zoey’s age sitting in his car seat, his arms crossed firmly in front of him.

“I don’t want to get wet!” he cries.

Out of the corner of my eye, I watch Zoey reach back into our own car. She pulls out our umbrella—the one we’ve been forgetting all day—and hands it to the woman.

“Here you go,” she says. “You can use ours.”

“Oh, no, I couldn’t…” the woman starts to protest.

“Don’t worry, we’re good. We’ve been having fun running in the rain all day,” I say as I point toward Zoey, who is happily prancing around in her rain boots. I start walking toward Zoey as the little boy finally decides to climb out of the car.

“Wait,” we hear a little voice call. The little boy steps out from underneath our umbrella, his footfall spraying water as he runs toward us.

“Look, Mommy!” he laughs as the rain washes away the remaining evidence of his just-moments-ago tears. “We didn’t need the umbrella after all!”

Zoey reaches for his hand and the two of them skip happily beside one another in the rainfall. Though the little bit of light the day has held is beginning to fade, the parking lot lights perfectly illuminate the puddles that stand ready for their splashing.

The woman falls in step next to me and moves the umbrella over the two of us. We walk together, listening to the happiness of our children drown out the sound of the raindrops above us.

“It hasn’t been the best day,” she tells me. “But watching them makes me realize why. There hasn’t been nearly enough laughter.”

I think back over the day Zoey and I have had, and I remember that not-so-long-ago early fall morning laughter and question-and-answer game shared between Zoey and my mom. I think of the important life lessons that the simple act of laughter holds: How it is transformative. And necessary. And important. And how it really does have the power to make everything better.

We look at our happy children, and then at one another, and then, together, we let our own laughter fill the cool air around us.

Zoey looks back and smiles our way, happy we’ve joined in with the two of them.

“Guess what, Mommy? We’ve laughed all day!” she says.

“And wasn’t it was the best day ever?” I ask.

Zoey tilts her head back and opens her mouth wide, letting the raindrops land on her tongue. She giggles as her new friend does the same.

I think it’s safe to say her silent answer could be translated into a resounding yes.


Let me know: What makes you laugh? How can you add more laughter to your life?

Just joining me on my journey? Catch up on the Everyday Nostalgia series here.

Like what you just read? Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a post!

post-end-icon-teal

At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.

 

56 thoughts on “Week 39: Lessons in Laughter | Everyday Nostalgia

    1. Yes! Definitely! Thanks for stopping by and reading. Hope you have a great day!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

  1. “To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think — spend some time time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day.”
    ― Jim Valvano

    <3

    1. Such an awesome quote! That sounds like the perfect day to me, too!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. Yes! We can never have too much laughter!!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. It’s the best medicine there is, don’t you think? 🙂 I hope your day is filled with laughter and light!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. Oh, thank you so much for your kind words! Aside from laughing, writing is medicine for me, too! And I think that’s a great motto to adopt, especially in this scary, crazy world we live in. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

  2. My daughter is the queen of making me laugh and it makes her so happy to see my laugh! Thanks for this reminder. I know I need to do better about laughing along with her even when I am stressed or frustrated. Laughter definitely has a way of turning the day around!

    1. Sometimes it is hard to remember to do when we’re having a stressful or rough day! But I think there’s probably room for a little laughter in every day somehow 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

  3. I need to remember this daily. Finding was to add more laughter to my life and my daughters’ lives is such a great way start every day. And those are such precious memories you have of your daughter with your mom and with just the two of you.

  4. Can’t help but smile while reading this. I love days when my daughter seems to laugh from sun up to sun down. It makes the troubles of the world slip away when we can just fall into the endless giggles together.

    1. Yes! Aren’t those days the best days?? I’m glad your daughter brings such light to your life! You are so blessed.

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. I’m such a lucky mama to have her! I think Z should be a happiness ambassador 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and reading!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

  5. Those are such sweet moments – both your daughter’s moment with your mom, and with that little boy at the store. It’s so true that laughter can brighten up the darkest day. I was feeling down all day today, and I got on the train and sat down next to my husband and we found so many things to laugh about together. It doesn’t solve anything that’s going on in the world, but it at least made me feel a little bit more hopeful and light.

    1. It makes me so happy that you and your husband were able to share that moment. I truly believe that small moments like those have the power to add up and change things, though. Our attitudes and outlook on everything that’s going on in the world really can be powerful things! Thanks for stopping by and reading 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. Thank you so much, Amanda. I love that there are things in life that are so simple and have such restorative powers!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. A day with laughter definitely is the best kind of day. Thanks for stopping by!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. #truth!! Thanks for stopping by and reading 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

  6. We laugh a lot at our house. It is so important to me to just have fun. One thing I do to make Jake laugh is I pretend to the voice or our cat Rosa and our dog Cooper. I make my voice super low for the cat and super high for the dog. Jake thinks it’s hilarious.

    1. I love that you make those voices for Jake – I bet those will be some of his favorite memories 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. Yes! Joy and laughter does make a home happy 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

  7. I love this! Sometimes it’s so hard to remember to laugh and smile, but when we do it makes everything so much butter. When I can remember to let things go and laugh, I’m a happier mom and I don’t have regrets about the day.

    1. It is hard to remember to do sometimes, but it certainly does make a difference. When I inject more lightness into my day, I can always tell my daughter benefits as well 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. The innocence of a child is such an amazing thing. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. It’s a good thing to work on. Hope your day is full of laughter!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. She is a sweetie for sure! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. Yes!! Hope your day is full of laughter!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. I definitely am a lucky mama; Z is such a special kiddo! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. I hope your day was filled with smiles, Yolanda 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. Yes, sometimes those stressors and to-dos in our lives have a tendency to take over. Laughing truly can make such a difference in lightening in the things we have to carry every day!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

    1. Life changing experiences are all around us – sometimes we just have to look a little harder 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Carri!

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

  8. I call my daughter Buttercup, too (and Sunshine). 🙂 Laughter is definitely important in our house and we try to be silly as often as possible. Great post!

    1. Silliness is one of the best cures there is! I hope you and Sunshine/Buttercup share some laughs today! 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

  9. there is no greater feeling than having a good laugh with your loved ones after a hard day at work or at home with the kids. When my husband and I first got together his friends remarked that we were perfect for each other because i laughed at all my husbands strange jokes when everyone else just shook their head at him. After 9 years together he still makes me laugh!

    1. I love that the two of you are still laughing. This is perfect 🙂

      Just a reminder, my Everyday Nostalgia posts go up every Sunday. I’d love to have you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any of my stories. We’re celebrating our one year anniversary this month on the Nostalgia Diaries, and we’re so grateful you have been a part of our journey!

Leave a Reply