The Real Boo Boo Cure…

Recently I went to my local drug store to buy some health and wellness items.  Bandages, eye drops, headache medicine, burn ointment…you know, the stuff that seems to disappear all too soon in my house.  Me?  Accident prone?  No, I consider myself more of a survivalist.  As I wandered down the aisle I noticed all the kid friendly stuff.  Bandages with cartoon pictures.  Toothpaste in tubes with Disney princesses all over it.  That got me thinking about the tried and true methods of our parents and grandparents to heal our boo-boos and other hurts.  It also made me laugh at my fanciful methods.

My cabinet at home is full of items that will help unclog my intestinal tract and if that gets too expunged then there is the one that will help stop the migration south.  There are little pills for so-so headache days and there are the extra strength ones for those dismal air pressure headaches.  There is the liquid pink potion to help with stomach pains and the fruit flavoured tablets for heart burn and indigestion.  There are the tablets to be used in case one of us has an anaphylactic shock.  It hasn’t happened yet, but one never knows right?  Add to this menagerie the cold fighting liquids, the herbal remedies, and the muscle and joint ointments and you have a cabinet full of illness fighting goodies.  Thinking back to my childhood my parents did not have such a full cabinet.

My childhood home’s main bathroom was where the “medicine” was kept.  Here is an inventory of what was in that cabinet:

  • bandages (Elastoplast brand because my father said these were the only ones that adhered well enough).
  • the everything pill – Aspirin – both children (little pink pills) and adult (yucky, chalky white pills)
  • iodine – used on any scraped knees, elbows, or puncture wounds.  It was red and had a little eyedropper for application.  Once applied it burned and burned and then tinged your skin red.  If the wound refused to clot then (and ONLY then) you would be given a bandage.  (If you ever had an everlasting-Elastoplast bandage ripped off, you would never, ever want a bandage again).

That’s it.  Nothing else in the cabinet.  There were no special kiddie bandages.  Nothing with cartoon pictures at all.  How did our generation manage to survive without the special first aid items that are out there now?  I have put a new spin on first aid making me more of a Witch Doctor than your regular mommy-type doctor.

I do not buy the special first aid bandages.  Also, my bandages are not to be applied to invisible or internal wounds.  Yes, they make a child feel better because now they have a memento of their boo-boo.  Everyone can parent the way they like, but I find this to be futile.  You give them one bandage and suddenly they’ll be returning asking for more until you have more of a mummy than a toddler.  I prefer the dramatic approach.

EXAMPLE:  CHILD FALLS WHILE RUNNING:

METHOD 1:  The wailing begins.   He/she is in unbelievable pain.  No doubt about it.  The tears are streaming in big fat drops and rolling down his/her cheeks.  Usual first aid is the Mommy Kiss:  Mommy kisses the boo boo and all is well.  My method:  “Come here sweetie,” I coo.  “Is it this leg?” I ask, pointing to the left leg.  “Shall we cut it off?”  Little boys LOVE that one!  Totally in for it!  They rest their leg on my thigh and I pretend sawing back and forth with the side of my hand.  The giggles erupt and all is well.  And no bandages were used.  Little girls usually give me the glare of death and skulk away.  Again, no crying and the irrefutable pain is suddenly forgotten.

METHOD 2:  The crying begins.  He/she is suffering like no other human being ever has.  “Oh my,” I say with hands on the sides of my face, staring in astonishment, “I guess you won’t be able to take the dogs for a walk with your broken leg.”  “I can walk the dogs!” comes the determined exclamation as child gets the leash and heads for the dogs.  Being able to do fun stuff will cure what ails them.

METHOD 3:   The sobbing begins.  He/she will not survive this wound.  If I have tried the sawbone solution or the distraction method and neither have worked, then I pull out the big gun.  The tried and true sure fire way to heal them.  Magic.  I put my magic wand on the injury and with some flair and dramatics I “heal” their injury.  They look at me shocked, stunned, and very silent.  They are also miraculously cured.

Now, some may say that I shouldn’t lie to children.  I don’t think it’s lying.  I tell them I will cure what ails them and I do.  That isn’t a fabrication.  It’s true.  They were there and watched me and they felt better.  WIN WIN if you ask me.

What makes my magic even more special is that MY wand is a Harry Potter wand.  I bring the special box out of hiding and have the child watch me slowly open it and reveal its contents.  The wand sits there, magically of course.  Also, no child is allowed to touch it because it is MY magic wand.  Eventually, when they are older, they can get a wand that magically selects them.  This way, no one fights over who gets to play with my wand and my wand will be safe for future use when fatal child injuries occur.

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I am hoping that one day, when they are grown up, they will recall these fanciful things I used to do.  Maybe I’ll be the crazy Baba which is fine with me because it makes me unique and memorable.  Childhood goes by too quickly and I love letting them live in a world of magic and fantasy while they can.

Bandages or Harry Potter wand?  You now know the real boo boo cure.

Hello? What’s new? The Phone Call…Part II

It was another one of those weekends when I had decided that enough time had passed for me to perform this one simple task.  It’s one that I used to try and perform every second weekend, but my self-preservation kicked in and I decided that my mental anguish was unnecessary.  A good four weeks (wow…a month) had passed and I was ready to take on this challenge.  I took a few deep breaths…breathe in [count to six], breathe out [count to six].  I was ready.  Time for The Phone Call.

I punched in the phone number.  I listened and heard the ringing on the other end.

Mom:  Hello?

Me:  Hello.  How are you?

Mom: OOOOOOH!  It’s you! (loud piercing voice to ensure I can hear her in Canada).  Is everything ok?  Is there something new?  Why are you calling?

Me:  Just called to see how you were doing.

Mom:  Everything is wonderful!

JACKPOT!  I hit the “Happy Phone Call” Day!  Woo hoo!  Woot woot!

“We were so lucky,” she started, “they had flooding in the next village, but we didn’t get any here.  God definitely heard our prayers.”  Oops.  I got excited too soon.  She was happy to hear from me, but now this conversation was spiralling into one of those other dimensions.  Oh no!  Hopefully no funeral talk.  I had a feeling the “litany” might be involved in today’s catch up phone call.  I continued to breathe in slowly and exhale slowly.  I could do this.  I could keep it positive.  I was feeling empowered!  No matter what she threw at me I could weather the verbal onslaught!  Hit me with it Mom!  I challenge you!  And she did.

After 4 weeks of being incommunicado with my parents, I was mentally and emotionally prepared.  I could handle a little rumble and wrestling in the pit of antagonism and negativity.  I’d chalk it up to “Fun Folk Times” and knew that after hanging up I would have another 4 weeks to boost up my auto-negativity immune system.  It started with the horrible weather and then moved on to ALL the other non-good things in her life at the moment.  If you read my previous post you would know that I am speaking of The Litany.

I did manage to bring up some things that were happening in my end of the world.  Although we are doing a major renovation in our home, I did not bring up this jubilant part of my life.  Why?  We hired people to do the work.  We did NOT wait for my father to return and have him do it.  So, best not to reveal happy things that would definitely sour quickly.  She spoke of the “miracle of the vineyard”.  When they had arrived in Croatia, the vineyard had been a disaster.  The blossoms had been blown away by high winds and there was no chance that there would grapes this year.  Looks like God decided they needed wine and now there was an abundance of juicy grapes.  Ok, I paraphrased, but that’s basically what her version boiled down to.  We spoke of children and grandchildren.  We conversed about my siblings and their lives (short story as I hadn’t spoken to anyone in awhile).  We chatted about the weather, about their return home, about my aunt and her recovery after surgery.  Yes, we covered many topics and I managed to keep the conversation mostly upbeat.  It was a pleasant catch up session.  Then, my mother informed me that my father had sauntered into the room.  Things changed quickly.

“Hey!  Hey you!”  she hollered at my father.  Yes, hollered, because…well, he was in the same room right?  “It’s your daughter!”  she laughed out loud as she yelled.  I waited a bit and as my father said “hello” into the receiver I could hear mom yelling in the background.  “Don’t talk too long!  It’s long distance!”  To which he replied (yelled back) “I just got on the phone!”  This is where my usual interjection comes in:  “What’s new?”   I do this in the hopes of distracting him from her verbal onslaught.  This most recent conversation was one that had me LOL-ing afterward for days.  It also had me talking to myself and shaking my head.  I am sure I looked strange, but all I kept thinking was Please don’t let me end up like them.  Here is why.

Dad:  Oh boy.  We are so tired now.  We were just making wine.  You would not believe what…

[shouting in background] I already told her about the vineyard!  Don’t waste time.  It’s long distance!

Dad:  Ok, so you know about the wine.  Your mother and I are ok.  We are..

Mom [bellowing]:  She knows that!  I told her!

Dad:  Well for heaven’s sake!  Fine!  [grumble grumble].  What’s new with you?  How is everyone over there?

Me:  We are all….

[shouting voice]:  She told me everything!  I’ll tell you all about it.  Don’t waste time.  It’s long distance!

Dad:  [harrumph with head shaking and an exasperated chuckle].  Although I was not in the room, I could visualize it.  I’d heard that sound before and know the head shake that accompanies it).  “Okay then,” he says resignedly.

Me:  I guess I’ll let you go.  We can talk another day.  Bye.

Dad:  [click]

Done.  Task performed.  An hour on the phone with my mother and 45 seconds on the phone with my father.  I sometimes wonder what happens after he put the phone back in the cradle.  Does he just walk away?  In this particular case,  I imagined her starting to tell him everything I said.   Then I remembered that today was a litany day for her so she probably didn’t hear anything or remember anything I said.  Oh well…4 more weeks until we do it again.

 

The Phone Call…Part I

My parents are…unique.  Yes, that’s a good and ambiguous word to describe them.  My mom and dad depart from Canada every year in the spring and do not return to Canada until fall has begun.  Where are they?  They have a humble mansion-like home in Croatia.  So, what is a good daughter to do in order to keep in touch with her parents?   Why, she phones them regularly to ensure that all is well and that they are having a happy-go-lucky life.  Well, that is what a daughter with non-unique parents would do.  Me?  There is a bit of a process to ensure I can keep my sanity intact.

Whilst in Croatia, my folks reside a mere 15 minute drive from the grandiose city of Split.  My father is an avid vegetable / fruit gardener and bee keeper.  My mother is right there by his side.  Not willingly.  It’s kind of a wifely self-imposed prison sentence I think.  She prefers to cook and bake.  Sadly, there is only so much baking you can do if everyone around you is on a diet or diabetic.  This is the Croatian village life.  I felt this was important to mention so that you could more clearly understand my need to mentally prepare myself for … the phone call.

It’s Sunday in Canada.  Morning has passed.  It is now 2 pm.  I debate on whether it’s a good day to call.  Am I feeling happy?  Am I feeling energetic?  Could I handle a barrage of negativity?  Can I be supportive?  If my questions result in a sum of 3 out of 4 then it’s NOT a good day to call.  If I’m super-hyped and feeling supremely happy, then I take a few deep yoga breaths and dial the number.  I close my eyes and mentally prepare myself.  I never know what type of conversation I might be subjected to.

A typical phone call would start as follows:

[phone ringing.  Mom picks up]  Hello?

Me:  Hello.  How are you?

Mom: OOOOOOH!  It’s you! (in a piercing, ear-splitting voice).  Is everything ok?  Is there something new?  Why are you calling?

Yes, every single conversation begins this way.  Her highest hope is that there is some life changing news that she can share with everyone in the village and/or the rest of Croatia.  This standard call can then morph into one of the following sub-conversations.

MORBID.  With my parents, being part of the elder generation, there is a good chance that there was a funeral, or few, that they had to attend.  My mother provides me with the obligatory synopsis of the deceased’s life, what illness they ailed from, and how lucky that they no longer need to live in pain and suffering.  Her voice is sad and verges on tears.  From funerals she might proceed to discussion of the poor surviving family members, especially if someone else is ill.  In most cases, I have no idea who these people are.  I am obliged to listen intently and ask NO questions.  Questions only lead to attacks of my person and “how can you not remember them?!”  DEFINITELY no questions.

ONE-SIDED.  This is always an interesting one.  After the “anything new?” question, she will go on a diatribe about…almost anything!  It could be a person or people, or a group of people.  It could touch on the government and its uselessness.  Which government?  Why…any government!  They are all crooks.  It could segue to taxes and the exorbitant price of food.  Maybe the weather is uncooperative.  Too much rain.  Not enough rain.  Too much sun.  Too hot.  Too cold.  Too many bugs.  From bugs to things bugging her like her aching back and sore legs.  Why is it one-sided?  I could say something, but she doesn’t hear me.  I have actually put her on hold, picked up my other line for about a minute, gone back to her and there has been no pause in conversation on her end.  She hadn’t even realized I had put her on hold.  These are the days that I don’t mention anything on my end.  She either won’t hear me, and if she does, she won’t remember it.

THE LITANY:  This type has some of the elements of ONE-SIDED, but is mostly a regular list of complaints, usually dealing with the unbearable actions of my father.  It would include, working long hours in the field, the amount of food he consumes, his argumentative behaviour, his self-righteousness, his loud voice, his deafness, and lastly, his method of breathing.  Yes, my father does not breathe as a regular human should.  Don’t ask me to explain, I don’t hear it the way she does.

HAPPY:  This is my most cherished type of phone conversation.  I find this one usually occurs if I haven’t called in over a month.  My mother is happy that I had called.  She is happy that I am healthy.  She is happy that everyone is doing well.  She is happy with her life.  The torrential rainstorm is no longer a scourge, but a great nurturer of the vegetables.  The sweltering heat of the sun is helping everything grow better.  My father is an amazing person.  He is so helpful and kind.  She just can’t do anything without him.  She has visited with family…or better yet, family came to visit her and she cooked and baked and everyone loved it!  They had so much fun!  Yes, this is my all time favourite exchange.  It is also usually the shortest one.  There is only so much good news and “happy” thoughts one can sustain.

As you may have noticed, I have only mentioned my mother in all these phone conversations.  This is due to two facts:  1)  My mother likes answering the phone or 2) My father has answered the phone, said “Hello [blah, blah for 2 seconds]” and then “here’s your mother.”

And….everyone together now…deep breath in…exhale…

Prepare yourself for:  The Phone Call – Part II.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate and Candy and Juice…oh my!

Once upon a time, a lovely little girl came to visit her Great Aunt.  The child was ecstatic about coming over to play.  Auntie had fluffy puppies and lots of different toys and books.  However, on this particular day, something strange had happened to the child.  She was not her normal self.  What evil had possessed her?  I’ll break it to you gently…Sugar Rush.

I, the Great Aunt, was having a lovely Saturday hanging out with my niece and her daughter.  No one else home, but us three females and the excitable dogs.  Wee female (who is almost 3 years old) was running around chasing puppies or stealing their toys to get them to chase her.  This would lead to an exhausted child and tired puppies later in the afternoon.  After all the excitement with the bow-wows, the fur balls went for a nap and the happy toddler went running off to the playroom.  All was well in the world.

Side note:  My entertaining habits  

Visitors to my humble abode will always be greeted with my big smile and some degree of food.  It could be nibblies like chips, pretzels, or nuts.  I could kick it up a notch and include crackers, kobasa (kielbasa?), and cheese.  If you are an appetizer lover, then the whole day’s meals might include mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, or even homemade pizzas.  If children are my gracious guests, I am the person that “healthy” parents avoid.  I like having chocolate for the kiddies and candy bracelets.  These yummy chocolate covered pretzel sticks called Pocky!  Ok, you get the idea.  I’ll admit it.  I want the kids who visit me to have fun and enjoy the sugary treats.  My great niece was glad I did too.

After a spell in the playroom, mini niece came and grabbed one of the Pocky and started chomping down.  “Mmmmmm, nummy,” she said, as her eyes sparkled with joy.  I gave her a chocolate coin too.  For lunch, there were grapes, strawberries, hot bread, kielbasa, cheese, fishies, and other crackers.  A nice snack medley.  After the fruit and veg, the little cherub snatched a few more Pocky sticks.  I figured she looked thirsty so I gave her some watered-down apple juice.  “Mmmmmm, nummy,” she said again.  I was on a roll.

The playdate wore on and it was time for my wonderful guests to return home.  We sat around for a bit so the bambino could chillax.  I gave her a candy bracelet as a nice parting gift.  She had never had one before.  I showed her how to bite it off the elastic.  So proud was she.  Success!  And what do you think I heard?  “Mmmmmm, nummy.”

The clock struck two.  Visiting hours were over.  Time to pack up and head out.  One more visit to the bathroom to empty the bladder before going home.  Little one started whining as she sat on the edge of the toilet seat.  Uh oh.  Auntie to the rescue!  I brought back a lovely board book called BooBoo.  She sat there on the potty and mommy began reading about BooBoo the duckling.  We waited to hear the tinkle in the water.  What happened next was quite unexpected.

Mommy started reading, “and then BooBoo…” which trailed off because her daughter did the head butt move toward her mom and, through giggles, said, “ahhhh-Boo.”  More giggles.  A repeat of the head thrash and more, “ahhh-Boo.”  Her rocking back and forth increased in speed.  Mum warned her that if she kept it up she would fall into the toilet.  Like a psychic prediction, her daughter’s butt hit the water as her head went back to prime for another head thrust.

We were evil adults.  We laughed at her.  She was displeased.  Mommy salvaged her wet bum from the depths of the toilet bowl.  We removed her wet t-shirt (while trying to stifle our laughter).  “Ahhhh-Boo,” I said, leaning in to her.  That got the giggles going again.  Then she darted, naked, out of the bathroom and ran to the opposing wall.  She slowly turned around to run back to us.  Her legs weren’t working properly.  The child was swaying side to side trying to walk a straight line.  Our little cutie-pattootie was on an official sugar high.  My niece looked at me and laughingly said, “she looks like a mini drunk.”  Yes that was it!

A sugar rush very closely resembles someone in a drunken haze.  Let’s compare:

Adult drunk on alcohol:  Finds everything funny and laughs at everything.  Will suddenly start crying.  Loves to run around naked, if possible.  Inability to walk a straight line.  Holds the wall for support.  Usually ends up in the bathroom to…let’s say…hug the bowl and eject booze from stomach.

Toddler drunk on sugar:  Finds everything funny.  Cries if falls, but can quickly forget pain because everything is funny.  Runs around nude.  Cannot run or walk a straight line.  Runs to wall for support.  Ends up in the bathroom (ok slight difference here) …to finish potty.

See?  A lot of similarities.

In case you were wondering, our fairy tale has a happy ending.  Great Auntie’s house of sugar treats is still standing.  Chocolates and candies are ready to be given to visiting children.  The sweetness will flow through their veins.  They will run around and laugh hysterically; giddy with happiness.  After the sugar rush ends and their super human powers abate, the crash will be large and the sleep will be deep.  The sweet little, exhausted, sleeping cherubs.

Yes, all children who visit know that there will be chocolate and candy and juice…OH MY!

P.S.  No old woman gets thrown into the oven (like the story with nasty little Hansel and Gretel).  The oven is used only for good, like baking cupcakes and cookies.  Now that’s a happy fairytale ending.

Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.

As a child, did you play make believe?  I have a feeling you did.  If you had comic books you might have wanted to be your favourite super hero.  If you didn’t have that form of entertainment, you might have wanted to be a firefighter or a teacher or a doctor or a dinosaur.  You could be anything and be wonderful at it.  When we got a tv and the Super Friends were on, my brother and I loved to be the Wonder Twins.  Here I am, all grown up and I am still playing make believe.  I make believe I am an adult (lol).  The grandchildren are into pretend play too.  Recently I watched in amazement as they huddled in a circle, arm in and then shouting out as they raised their hands out of the circle.  Welcome to the new power partners.

What did they holler?  MINI SQUAD!  Yes, they are little, but I am thinking maybe there is a video game or something with that title.  Their power members consist of a 7-year old, and two 3 1/2-year olds going all gung ho with excitement.  I had to find out what this squad of theirs was all about.  Here is what I learned.

There is a lot of running around.  First you stand in the circle with your right arm into the centre and then as you are lifting your arm out of the circle you yell:  MINI SQUAD!  Note:  there is also a second type of huddle.  Instead of arms and hands in, you do it with arms and fists in yelling MINI SQUAD!  “It’s totally different,” said the 7-year old.  I had to agree.  After that all important battle cry is done you run around looking for stuff.  What kind of stuff?  “Well, the one holding the flashlight is searching for monsters,” said the eldest cousin.  The other two?   “It changes,” she remarked matter-of-factly.  “Bugs, birds, shadows…anything,” she continued.  It doesn’t matter what you look for, eventually the eldest will yell for her cousins to come back to do the rally cry again.  Uh huh.  So, no real rules.  Then I got curious about names of the members.

“So,” I began, “how did you get the name Mini Squad?”  Boy wonder got a shirt from his parents with Mini Squad on it.  His aunt saw it and decided to buy it for her girls and ta-da!  They were now “officially” the Mini Squad because, well, as we old folks like to say:  Been there.  Done that.  Got the t-shirt.

My next question was about the running around and seeking for things.  “Well, it’s different every time.  Unless you have the flashlight because then you are the monster hunter.” Fair enough.

“What are your names?” I inquired.

Eldest:  My name is Flash.  [pointing to her younger sister] She is Spark.  [pointing to her younger cousin] His name is Jonathon.  WHAAAAAAAAAT!!??  OK, I admit I snort-laughed then.  What the heck kind of superhero name was Jonathan?

Well, after my obnoxious display of laughter she decided that they should have different names.  The chooser of names decided that she would be Shadow, sis would still be Spark, and Jonathon would now be Flash…no no…Flasher.  (Ok, not much better for helping stop my laughter.  She should’ve quit while she was ahead with Flash.  lol)  One day she is going to read this and definitely laugh her head off.  (Ha Ha Ha…Plop).  Until she gets bumped into adulthood and realizes the definition* I ain’t gonna spoil the fun.

Ready everyone?  Stand in a circle, arms in.  And ready to move arms out and yell out:

MINI SQUAD!

* Note:  The adult brain can really stunt a child’s imagination.  As a pre-tween I recall a school project where, working in groups, we had to come up with a product and an advertising campaign.  My group decided on something like Jello.  Being so genius, we were happy to show the teacher our progress with our new product called “Jiggle-o”.  She smiled weirdly, took a couple of breaths and then said we needed a new name.  “Why?” we inquired.  She tried to explain without explaining.  To this day I don’t recall her lame explanation.  Our cool product name was changed to…ugh…Wiggle-o.  After I crossed the threshold into adulthood I heard of a movie called “American Gigolo.”  Oh my.  A-ha moment.  Been there. Done that.  Got the t-shirt.

 

 

Family Fundamentals

Wow!  What a busy week!  Besides cleaning my house, I did other things that make my life so wonderful!  I booked Workday Wednesday off to visit with my friend.  She took me to a cutie little beach side cafe and we lunched and chatted and had a lovely afternoon.  Come the weekend, another grand day with the grandchildren.  Kennie was celebrating her 7th birthday and we got to hang out at a fancy park and play and laugh and chat and just catch up with people we hadn’t seen in awhile.  Standing back and taking pictures for posterity, I had a momentary split vision of the world that I live in.  I experienced a clarity of my life.  It made me smile.  This is my family.

Now, this may not seem like a big deal to most people, however, my family is quite unique and diverse.  When I say my family, it’s really an extension of Wiseguy’s family, but this weekend I saw how remarkable it was when everyone was together.  Let me explain.

If you search for the definition of family, you will find that this definition has not been officially changed from when it was first defined.  It still reads as follows:  a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.  For many families, this is still true.  Our society has changed in so many ways with regards to who raises children and who the guardians of the descendants are.  Single parent, LGBTQ parent(s), grandparents, adopted parents, step parents, aunts or uncles.  It’s not the “who” that is watching over them and guiding them that is most important.  It is the love and desire to raise children to become good conscientious adult citizens.  It is the proverbial “village” that makes this happen.

Segway back to Kennie’s party.  Besides the mix of genders and races, there were the divorced people who had remarried and were there with their new spouses or partners.  There were the cousins and aunts and uncles.  There were the grandparents and great grandparents.  All differences were put aside to celebrate this wonderful occasion.  There was no backstabbing.  No bickering.  People played volleyball and soccer.  Others sat around chatting and just catching up on what was new in each other’s lives.  Parents watched over their children, but all others watched as well.  It was a community of loving people wanting to enjoy the laughter and happiness of these adorable children.  Their high pitched squeals and big smiley faces could wipe away all thoughts of past anger and resentment.

My camera caught an incredible image.  The peacefulness on each person’s face.  The uproarious laughter.  Children playing in the sand…of the volleyball court.  To sum it up, it was a day full of happiness.  We broke bread together (well, hot dog and burger buns…that counts).  Everyone ate.  Everyone chatted.  The party was slotted to last from 1 pm to 4 pm.  Due to unforeseen cheerfulness, the entourage stayed until 6 pm.  It was actually difficult to leave.  It was such a beautiful, sunny day full of joy and merriment.  An incredibly memorable day.

Wiseguy and I came home and unpacked quickly.  We were exhausted.  Was it because of the fresh air?  Was it due to extra playtime with all the children?  Was it being in the sun all afternoon?  We smiled, resigning ourselves to the fact that we had no idea why we experienced the onset of tiredness, but we knew it was time for bed.  We were both smiling.  Why?  The day had been perfect.

Perfect?  Yes.  It was perfect.  The weather was ideal.  It wasn’t humid.  It was warm in the sun and cool in the shade.  The “family” came together to celebrate a birthday, but it was more than that.  It was a collaboration.  It was various entities of a family bonding together and enjoying each other’s company.  That’s what my camera saved forever.  It was about love.  It was about family.  It was about being there for a common goal and bypassing past prejudices.

In so many ways, children are the leaders.  They don’t hate (unless you steal their toy).  They don’t judge (unless you steal their toy).  Everyone is equal.  Religion, colour, nationality, et. al. kids don’t care.  As long as you are a loyal and nice playmate, they will be your friend forever.  Fun is what life is about.

I appreciate and love my “family”.  It’s definitely unique, but I am so proud to be part of it.  Living it.  Breathing it.  Loving it.  Laughing with everyone else.  It’s all about putting the Family “Fun” in Fun-damental.

 

 

The Day of the Cackle…

I like to yuck it up.  For any of you that are part of the younger generation, that translates to LOL.  I am not afraid to giggle and guffaw in public.  I am that person in the movie theatre who isn’t shy to shriek and/or snort if there is a funny scene.  Yes, I am the obnoxious one who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks because if it’s funny then I will laugh out loud.  However, there is one thing that I did not expect would ever happen to me…the jovial laugher.  I now refer to this day as “The Day of the Cackle”.

I was a shy kid and always wanted to fit in.  If others weren’t laughing then I wouldn’t either.  I might smile, but no sound would emerge from my mouth (or nose for that matter.  I am also a bonafide snorter).  I might embarrass myself.  The more I got comfortable with just being ME, the more I went from smiling with no teeth showing, to wide-mouthed big smiles and finally to the contagiously loud laugh.  All was well in my amusing world until the Day of the Cackle.

I had met my BFF for lunch and we proceeded to share our hilarious tales of adventure that is our daily lives.  We started to laugh about something.  Suddenly a bizarre sound filled the airspace.  I tried to maintain my composure, but the sound irked me.  It grated on my nerves.  We continued with our fun stories and this time when I opened my mouth to let out the oncoming guffaw I heard that nasty caterwaul again. Suddenly a strange thought hit me.  Did that hideous noise emerge from my diaphragm?  I also had this eerie feeling that I had heard it somewhere before.  It wasn’t until I was driving home after our luncheon that it hit me.  I had been pondering giving my mother a call and the lightbulb switched on above my head.  Eureka!  But not in a good way.  I had shockingly realized that my previous melodious laugh had turned into the OLD LADY CACKLE!

I remember listening to my mother talking on the phone and hearing that abrasive sound.  Really, it was a sound I despised as much as nails on a chalkboard (*whole body shiver*).  I can clearly recall listening to her laughing with her friends, but all I heard was the sounds of chickens clucking and cackling.  Now….THAT’S ME!

I’ll be completely honest, it took me awhile to adjust to this.  I almost stopped LOL-ing.  It’s weird enough if you hear your voice recorded and played back to you, but to have a glorious, lulling laugh morph into the sound of chickens being tortured was not something I had prepared myself for with my middle age creeping up.  Now, besides the creaking and cracking joints, I have to listen to my nail-on-the-chalkboard laugh.  I actually prefer the snorting to it.  Ok, maybe I’m going a little overboard with my drama, but it was not an anticipated event.  In my usual Pollyanna way, I decided to find the positive in my negative situation.

First, I realized that I was the only one who seemed offended by my noise pollution laugh.  No one looked at me any differently.  No one stopped saying funny things either.  Perhaps it wasn’t that bad after all.  Getting old and changing is great!  I still have my faculties, and my health, and wonderful people in my life.  Super-great people actually!  I always try to be happy and share my joy with others.  I LOVE TO LAUGH!

SIDE BAR:  I laugh every time I watch “I Love to Laugh” from the “Mary Poppins” movie.  Seriously, I can try and sit there without laughing, but it’s just too contagious.  So, if you are feeling down and need a pick me up, just watch this.  I promise you’ll be feeling much, much better.  I Love to Laugh 

Back to my cacklephony.  New word.  It should be added to the Miriam-Webster or the Oxford dictionary soon.  So, I shall now let you click on the following links so you can hear exactly what I hear.  The first is a lovely video of “aged women” cackling with laughter.  Yes, I couldn’t help myself.  I laugh-snorted listening to them.  Such fun!  They sound just like me.  Cackling women.  The next is chickens.  Sounds quite similar.  *SNORT*.

Ahem…let’s get serious.  A synopsis of my laughing habits.  Young me…no laughing.  Teen years me…semi-smiles.  Pre-adult me…smiled broadly and learned to laugh…hoping I would not be an outcast.  The Day of the Cackle.  Etched in my mind for eternity.  No longer traumatic, more of a fun-fest-fact.  Wholesome F trifecta…booyah!  Does it bother me?  Honestly?  Oftentimes.  Does it molest my ears?  Occasionally.  How does it rate on the “Do-I-Care-O-Meter”?  Insignificant.  I find that I mellow with age.  Like a fine wine.  Meh…nothing to worry about.

Synopsis:  I love to smile, but even more, I love to laugh.  I enjoy being the happy person. Some may find me annoying with my constant happiness, but in my mind, that is their problem.  I want to be happy and hope I can be contagious enough to make others around me happy.  My newfound distorted laugh is something I am adapting to.  I am focusing on the positive and knowing that, although the sound may be ingratiating, I know that the Day of the Cackle is one more nuance of my mid-life budding personality.