Sometimes the smallest things make you laugh. Generally, I have found that most often, when life gets you down, and there doesn’t seem to be an “up” in sight, someone reminds you of something from your past that left an impression on you and at that moment, as you smirk to yourself and chuckle out loud, you realize, that out of sight doesn’t always mean out of mind. In fact, this particular story I am about to share with you has left forever an impact on me, my children and friends and family.
I want to tell you about a good friend of my sons. Her name is Sarah. Sarah and Brian met in their freshman year of high school and because they we’re old enough to drive yet, Sarah’s mother and I were their taxis. We hauled those kids anywhere and everywhere. We took them to concerts, shopping for weekends in Chicago and away from their birthdays to their favorite places. We were the cool hip moms! Although Jan and I were not as good of friends as our kids were, we often laughed about goofy things the kids did, and they’d share stories of goofy things that we did as parents with one another. Over the years we did develop a wonderful friendship, no thanks to our children. My grandmother used to always tell me that God puts certain people in our lives for a reason. I never understood that, but I always knew that he did and he had a purpose for it.
I remember a time after my divorce when money was extremely tight. There were days after payday where I didn’t have what seemed to be two nickles to rub together. I clipped coupons, and we never went out to eat. I was always looking through magazines and on the Internet for recipes to make for myself and my children that were inexpensive, recipes that we could stretch into two meals. Brian always came home from Sarah’s house with stories about all of these great dishes that Jan made. Jan had a husband and two incomes, I did not. What I didn’t know what Jan was cheap, just like me.
I said to Brian one day,…”Wow, Jan must spend a lot of money on Campbell’s Soup products and other store brands? She’s always making dishes that require these. ( some soups were over $1.00 a can, and for a woman on my budget, I didn’t have a dollar to throw away from a few cans to make one dish that we weren’t even sure if we’d like?)…Brian laughed and said “Oh Mom, Jan doesn’t spend a lot of money at the grocery store!”
I pondered that statement to myself for a minute and thought to myself…,”then how in the world does she do it?” A few seconds later, and as if my son just read my mind looked at me and said “Mom, Jan doesn’t pay full price for her canned goods” …Hmmmm, I thought to myself again for another minute and finally said to Brian,….”Then how in the hell does she do it?” He said “Mom, Jan drops her cans in the isles (when I say ‘drop’ I mean throw them to the ground.) He said, “Yup, that’s what she does, she throws them in isles and then takes them to the customer service desk to complain about the can being dented and they’d mark them down for her.” She made it look like they fell out of her cart, but it was planned. Classic, isn’t it? As smart as I am, I would have NEVER thought to do something like this.
There is a moral to this story. You see, a year later, Jan was diagnosed with leukemia and died a short while later after such a strong fight. She was 43 a few years older than me and I was so sad. Although she and I were friends only to a certain degree, we shared a lot of common goals and no matter what happened with the kids, they were always making us laugh. We saw a little bit of our humor shining through in our children, and at that point, we laughed and said that we knew now that we had done something right!
To this day, when I hear a canned good hit the floor in a grocery store, I stop, laugh and pay tribute to a wonder woman who I never really got to thank for enlightening my heart and my home with her love and her personality. Her memory will always live on each time a can hits the floor. Sometimes when I am having a bad day or something isn’t going wrong, a can will fall from my lazy Susan for no reason, or off a shelf at the supermarket, and I just women if that isn’t Jan’s way of telling me to hang in there?
Laughter, you see is the souls food. I need it, you need. Without it, life would not exist in the presence of how to share our thoughts, words and actions. I love laughter. Sometimes I crack myself up, and my kids and I laugh about everything. Take the time to reminisce about someone who made you laugh, or who still makes you laugh, and remember to smile and say thanks for making your day a better day!
Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. In addition to the domino effect of joy and amusement, laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body, changes that are good changes….changes that we all need from time to time. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
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