Growing up, but not too much

April 15, 2014

Somewhere along the line, we all grow up.

It’s gradual, noticeable only by increments seen in hindsight.

I think back to a dozen years ago, twice that, too, and am amazed that I have made it to where I am.

I wonder about a good portion of my 20s and the sometimes utter stupidity that lingered there from my immature self.

I wonder sometimes how I made it through my teen years, now that there are some teen years happening right in front of my face.

I thank God for the patience of all who had a hand in rearing me, especially during those turbulent years. And I thank you people for not taking me out.

I laughed when I wrote that, but it’s kind of true.

Teenagers—typical teenagers anyway—test every boundary ever laid down by a parent. And, whew, it’s no fun at all.

However, it is but that last bit before we turn these humans out in the world to begin making their own decisions.

I didn’t do so hot my first couple times out there on my own and always ended up coming back home.

Crazy. It’s the one place I wanted so badly to get away from, but it didn’t take long to figure out it was the one place where there was safety and love. It was home.

But I digress.

What got me on this growing up string of thoughts was giggling.

I am nearly 40 years old, and giggling is one of my favorite things ever.

My daughter had a friend spend the night Friday, and I have never been so surrounded by giggling.

It was constant, and it was precious, too.

I am sure I giggled abundantly with my gal pals when I was little, though I wasn’t conscious of it, so blissfully unaware was I of being anything but a happy little girl (and for that goes my sincerest thanks to my family).

But I was conscious of its presence in my childhood and my adult years as I listened to my daughter and her little friend giggle like little maniacs at every, little, thing.

Giggling has become one of the best things when we girls get together; laughing until you have to run to the bathroom, too, because we aren’t quite old enough for Depends yet.

That is one of the best parts of getting together with the girls, the laughter. It so quickly opens the door to all the silly while simultaneously blocking entry to all the stresses that weigh a person down day in and day out.

It’s good stuff.

And frankly, it’s about the best cardio and core muscle workout I get, which is a bonus.

My girl and her friend don’t have to be taught the value of laughter and levity. They just know because they are kids and their needs and wants are small and happiness is found in the moment.

They aren’t thinking about the grocery bill or the cost of college or soaring gas prices.

And when I am able to share a good laugh with someone, I’m not thinking about those things either.

I don’t ever remember my stepson and his little friends giggling till they fell on the floor. But I know, even now in the sometimes rough-edged teen years, if we can laugh, we can push aside whatever is causing harm and remember to hug each other.

I remember laughing like that with my grandma. And when my sister and my mom and I get together, there is lots of laughing until you cry.

It’s easy stuff to forget when we get older, that frivolity has plenty of merit.

There is one friend in particular who brings out the silly quicker than anyone else I know. Even in text messages, the laughing out loud is quite real.

I wrote a column a while back with some facts about laughter. And I write this again now because all that giggling from the weekend is still ringing in my head. And I still smile when I think of it.

It’s so important to be silly sometimes.

It’s good for the soul.

Angela Shepherd can be reached at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @ashepherdHTG.