I often watch my kids and marvel at the pure innocent joy they regularly experience. Why can’t I experience that as easily as they do? I don’t even remember feeling that way as a child.
When they laugh, usually together, it is completely beautiful. They are absolutely free, they let go and immerse themselves in the pure joy of whatever they are laughing about.
Towards the end of my drinking career I would laugh. But not full proper laughter, not that I remember anyway. I was stuck in the rut of life where nothing was really fun anymore. Nothing was really that funny.
When I stopped drinking, and then started again with an attempt at moderation, I mainly experienced misery. Or indifference. For a while I thought I may never laugh properly again. But then it happened.
It was at the end of September last year, after I stopped for what I hope was the final time. We were away with friends for the weekend – we were in our caravan and they were staying in a ‘pod’. It was a cold and windy weekend. I had been not drinking for around a month by then and I honestly thought I’d never truly laugh again. We were having a lovely weekend wrapped up in coats and wellies and walking in the woods. Then one evening, when it was pouring with rain, the six of us went out to the pub for dinner. It was a gorgeous country pub and we’d been lucky to find a somewhere that had a table at short notice. To entertain the children we played that game where each of us draws part of a person and then folds it over so that the next person drawing can’t see what’s gone before. Everyone at the table got involved and we took it in turns to each draw our section – with colouring in and everything! My husband went first, then my youngest daughter, then our one friend (a chap), then his Mrs, followed by me and then finally my big girl.
When we unfolded the piece of paper, the big reveal, the creature we had created was ridiculous. With each un-fold we laughed more and more. Everyone had worked so hard, and taken the task so seriously that our efforts were evident, it was brilliant! I laughed so hard that people actually started staring!! And the more I laughed, the more the kids laughed – they loved how much I loved our masterpiece. It even got to the point where I could hardly breathe from laughing even after everyone else had stopped. They were just staring at me with bemused looks on their faces. It was brilliant. I’m even smiling as I type this 🙂
The guys were drinking, the girls (and obviously the kids) were not. In my glass was a delicious elderflower Bottlegreen. Once I’d finally regained my composure I vividly remember thinking – this is absolutely wonderful. I was overwhelmingly proud of myself to have been able to experience such joy. I didn’t even know that was possible anymore! I honestly felt like I’d won the lottery.
Now, I haven’t laughed like that since. I think I have been spending a lot of time lately taking myself a bit too seriously, but this blog post has been a reminder to let go, channel my beautiful children more often, and maybe act like a kid myself from time to time. Maybe that’s where joy lies.
And if you’d like to see what all of the fuss was about…. have a look at the picture below.
Thanks for reading, if anyone actually is! I’ve certainly loved writing this one xx