It’s time for me to write something funny, but I don’t know how.
I’m not sad. Not angry. Not depressed. Not any of the reasons people give for being unfunny.
To be fair, many funny people sport some level of depression, anyway.
My kids – former wellsprings of hilarious material – aren’t funny to me anymore. They are treasures I want to hold tight – much as they always were, but instead of sharing their shenanigans I want to cling to them with the weight of my body and soul and hold them close. They also aren’t funny anymore in the way they used to be funny. They don’t often say things in innocence that make us smile; when they do, I experience a wave of memories that almost knocks me out.
The innocent ramblings of children are fleeting.
I can share that the other day I was in a silly mood and grabbed my son from behind around the waist and asked him to try and pull me around on the smooth kitchen tile – to work his core, I reasoned. He pulled me around for a short time before I lost my balance and fell down right on my butt. It's more about me being a goof than about him being funny, but it's what I've got for now.
We both laughed that silent laugh where you can’t catch your breath. I had tears in my eyes when I asked him if he thought it was a good workout. He shook his head at me and said “You’re crazy.”
When he’s thirty it might be weirder if we did this together. By then we will just have to settle for reminiscing about that time around Christmas when he was just a little bigger than me, strong enough to be used as a pack animal, and I asked him to pull me around and I fell down on my butt.
Perhaps then they’ll be whispering: “That was the beginning of Mom’s downward spiral.”
We are watching Star Wars movies as a family, movies that are certainly not meant to be funny but are funny to us in their corniness. We call the characters “Sausage Head” and “Snot Monster” and exclaim “Whoa!” and “YEAH!!!” at Yoda’s Jedi moves and light saber action. We rate hairdos and costumes and the kids get uncomfortable during the kissing scenes and roll their eyes at the love stories and I am reminded that they are still kids.
Somewhere I lost the ability to be funny about them.
They would be relieved if I told them this. They never minded being written about, and I always (usually) asked them if it would be okay to share their funniest stories here, but it’s not my place to share the things about their lives that they can share themselves. Other things are private and not funny anyway. Respect for my children has reached a whole other level.
We are separating. They are just beginning to peel off from our family, discovering their own selves apart from the home cocoon. That’s why we had children, to raise up people to continue our legacy, to build the world into a better place to live. It’s a good thing – the way of life.
But it’s not funny.