The holiday season tends to ignite the crazed shopper in parents. We all want to give our children the exact gifts their hearts desire. December 26 often arrives with kids being either over or underwhelmed and parents wondering where all the joy went from spending all that money while doing all that frenetic shopping.
I spent a weekend with my children that contained the best gift to all of us: the sounds of our laughter, rising up and tumbling down. Shouts of silliness and camaraderie and the creation of stories we will all continue to share that start with "remember the time when we....."
My friend Cameron said to me the other day how much he enjoys watching my Godson play and discover life just by being a thoroughly engaged child. My son, who is seven years older, has learned via experience how to be an unconditionally loving older-brother-figure.
Watching the two of them play and laugh together has been an incredible gift to me - as one who dearly loves them both - and Cameron reminded me how these are the memories both boys will savor when they get older.
It is about creating a space for laughter to burst through - as created by your child herself, not the game or the place or the parental supervision and finger pointing. It is stepping back and holding the space open for spontaneous creativity.
My children and I put together a puzzle yesterday while visiting Bugseum, a museum about bugs from the local business, InsectLore. The puzzle was for children from ages four to twelve and the three of us - between ages 12, 16 and much much older struggled. Together we found the ridiculousness of the moment and turned what could have been frustration, a festival of self denigration or desertion of the goal into a giddy love fest of laughter.
When we were done, we invited a staff member to take a photo.
We hammed it up and watched as our laughter spread to our now photographer.
Laughter is contagious. It is great physical exercise. It is free. Laughter is a great building block toward a more remarkable life.
It is a gift you can so easily give your children by releasing your reigns and simply creating space for them to discover how to manufacture their own fun rather than pulling it out of a box or a place.
Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, performance poet, Mommy and mixed-media artist. Her word-love themed art will be for sale at First Friday each month in Downtown Bakersfield. Check out the links below to follow her on a bunch of different social media channels, especially if you find the idea of a Word-Love Party bus particularly enticing.
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