The women in my family love to laugh at ourselves…and each other. We each provide a different venue for laughs.
My mother, the leader of the “laugh-at-yourself” club, is known for her odd pronunciations of various words. For example, she reads a poim, not a poem. She takes Pepto Bismo for an upset stomach. And she slips back into her New Orleans accent when she visits Grandma like she’s Sybil or something. There is an entire series of stories co-starring my Aunt Fran. I don’t have time or permission to tell those!
My sister entertains by her huge reactions to, well, to just about anything. Every gift she opens is the most amazing thing she’s ever seen. Any news we have regarding the children is definite evidence that they are geniuses. If there is good news, she is the absolute best person to tell…complete with very loud exclamations of excitement. If you get your hair done differently, she will absolutely loooooove it! She has simply ruined me for normal reactions from others.
Humor from my life seems to always center around my physical appearance. We can hardly look at the family photos without a reminder of just how “funny-looking” I was in my awkward phase, which for the record, lasted a good 18 years. Apparently in the 70’s they didn’t really make many children’s frames (so my mom claims) and that explains why I have glasses that are dark brown and cover half of my face. I also had what I was told was a “Dorothy Hammel” haircut, which resulted in people always asking my sister what her little brother’s name was.
The other day Abby, Karyn, and I had another hearty laugh over my physical appearance. This was in reference to a shocking post-partum discovery. It wasn’t enough that after I delivered 14 pounds of baby, the other 36 pounds I gained miraculously moved to my thighs, rear end, and my nose (yes, at least two pounds went straight to my nose). I mean, surely it was all baby before they came out! And apparently, it wasn’t enough that my belly was a warped floppy mess-literally two handfuls of skin (I know, too much information). It also wasn’t enough that I had to continue to wear the three maternity dresses I grew to loathe well after I delivered the boys. These things were hard yes, but nothing could prepare me for the grand-daddy of all post-delivery humiliations.
I was taking an unusual opportunity to look at my face carefully in the mirror when I noticed it. I said out loud, “Oh. My. Gosh.” I had a beard. I kid you not…I had a real beard. It had probably been there for weeks and I didn’t notice because, well, I had more important things to notice like two newborn baby boys. I was already reeling from the adjustment to being a mom (hormones a-ragin’). So let’s just say that I didn’t at that moment, laugh at my beard discovery. What does one do when one discovers she has a beard? I thought, this must be male hormone from the boys. I thought, why didn’t my sister tell me about this? I knew she had to have noticed. And then I did what I thought made perfect sense. I went to Wal Mart and bought a chemical hair remover. I put it all over my beard. Whooooo Nelly! That hurt almost as bad as breast feeding (not quite). I took off the chemicals only to discover that it removed not only the hair, but a layer of skin as well. So in the days following (felt like weeks), I had a scab beard. But hey, at least the hair was gone!
We laughed so hard. I love being in a family that doesn’t take themselves too seriously. We really love to laugh at ourselves. It is good medicine. And the next time you are lamenting the affects childbearing has had on your body, comfort yourself with this: you probably didn’t grow a beard your brother could have envied.