I believe in the feeling I get when I hear my children laugh.
It is joy at the sheer pealing sounds bouncing off walls and ceilings and in my heart. It has in it a tinge of sadness in that I know it will not last, and that my children’s voices do not speak for children everywhere. They will get older, as will I, and the children’s cadences will be replaced by something they will have learnt growing up. Something that works for them. I hope it is something that has some of their childhood in it, and hopefully some of the laughter we shared.
I did not grow up in a happy family. There was strife imposed by adults upon themselves as well as the children. Therefore, laughter was at a premium those days. I can remember vividly the occasions when there was actual adult laughter in the home, instead of the discord my brain automatically filtered out, and remember the tangible feeling of a weight being lifted from my being, even for a little while. Children do listen and pay attention, and learn, even when they seem not to. My siblings and I did, and are dealing with the consequences of those lessons today. The Child is the father of the Man.
Adults rarely realize the comfort children get when they hear soft spoken parents conversations, talking about the day to be or the day gone by or just about the infinite shapes of clouds. I treasure the rare memory of my family just being together not talking, rather than the din of hurt and hurtful adulthood.
I want something else altogether for my children, and as an extension, for all the children of the world. I have resolved that as a parent, I will spend as much time making them laugh, feeling good, feeling loved, and important to me, as I possibly can. When I can no longer run or play with my children, I want to be able to believe that the best portions of my life were my little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love, to paraphrase William Wordsworth.
I know that even when I cannot laugh or smile, children’s voices lifted up in joy speak for me. I need not voice anything for my spirit to be lifted. I need not hear anything else for my wounds to be healed.
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