Some days I feel really bad I’m not creating more intentional and meaningful traditions for my kids.
For an obsessive-compulsive anxiety-prone doomsday prepper, you’d think I’d be more ritual loving.
Save for my weekly Friday morning cleaning rituals, I’m not.
Rituals or not, I do believe I’m creating content for my kids’ memoirs (which I secretly hope will end up in the humor section next to David Sedaris).
The tradition my husband and I unintentionally foster most in our family is laughing when you should be shuddering with fear or despair; evidenced by my children’s reaction last weekend to our epic fight in the car on one of the final days of “Israeli Passover Survivor.”
In order not to divulge too much information that will first cause my husband to leave me and second propel his lawyer to file for defamation and full custody, I’ll just say that my children should have been weeping in response to our lower-than-low behavior, but instead they laughed.
They laughed hysterically.
One barb followed the next. And it didn’t matter if it came out of his mouth or mine, they laughed.
They thought we were joking. Or they just thought we were practicing inappropriate comedy routines a la Louis CK or Dane Cook (neither of which my children know or love … yet.)
Maybe they were giggling nervously. I definitely passed onto them a propensity for this flaw.
But their laughter was louder than giggling, and together they fueled each other on.
The front seat was a war zone.
But the back seat was the first row at the Improv.
Who knows why my children were laughing?
At the time — even in the heat of the inappropriateness of that moment — I understood I’d rather they laugh than shut down in fear.
This is true for almost every day of my life…and theirs.
I’d rather they laugh.
I don’t know if laughter is a tradition or a ritual or something that can be truly intentionally passed on from parent to child.
All I know is that it makes days like this tolerable,
It turns our resentment into ridiculousness.
It dissolves pain and bitterness.
It quiets the doubt.
Laughter lets light in.
And then love in.
My children may grow up God-less heathens. They may grow up to be without conventions, customs, or culture.
But they will grow up laughing.
And I suppose this is as good an inheritance as any.