Friday, November 5, 2010

Learning to Laugh Again

There's a big difference between making people laugh and spontaneously laughing out loud in shared hilarity, as only long-time friends can do. It takes forever to cultivate a sense of shared mirth when one shares no history with another. But friends who knew you when you worried about zits and split ends, birthing babies and heart transplants, those are the people to turn to when one needs a sense of homecoming.

My best high school buddy was always here for me, even before my marriage, and the first time I had to face the death of someone who held a part of my soul, and before my children made my life whole. I've waited for this moment since we first laughed together in Sister Dominic Savio's honors English class when we were fourteen. She continued to collect honors and I continued to collect crises. I hope I'm finished collecting crisis, and she's finally got play time, as she's partially retired.

My grandma used to ask whether I wanted to laugh or to cry at the loops life put in my path. I've cried oceans; now it's time to guffaw with someone who has held on through the storms and continues to stand on the prow of the ship of life laughing into the wild winds that continue to buffet our boats.

We both seem to share the opinion that you can't avoid the pain, so you'd better grab for all the celebratory gusto you can muster in between the bad times. This makes us look a bit demented, or at least immature at times, but neither of us cares one wit. This doesn't necessarily sit well with our children and their children, but that's another source of silliness for us as we wander on toward sixty.

Our husbands grin and bear our behavior, sort of like they're watching puppies at play. We are lucky women indeed to share the little bit of heaven on earth that a good belly laugh can be.