Take the time to smile, find the time to laugh

Humour, to me, is one of the most attractive qualities. I look for it in people, so it’s no surprise that all my friendships/relationships are with people who really make me laugh. I am also blessed with a very funny family. Peculiar and ‘ha ha’.

Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by people who are funny? Laughing is infectious. FACT.

If I think about my relationships with colleagues in work, the people I have the most connection with are those who make me smile and make me laugh.

I love wit, I love sarcasm, I love slapstick and I love nonsensical random surreal humour.

Laughing is good for you. Laughing is healthy. The science behind it is that not only does it release endorphins, it helps your heart too. It improves the blood flow to your heart in a similar way exercise does. So, technically, laughing is exercise. Now surely, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to give yourself a good humour workout.

There are hundreds of benefits to laughing, so it baffles me that sometimes my more natural reaction to situations is to be frustrated/annoyed/angry/impatient etc…

So, for 2011, one of my aims (I prefer to call them aims & goals rather than resolutions) is to take the time to smile more, and find the time to laugh more. We all face challenges, we all have obstacles, but what separates us is how we react to them.

My aim is to try to find humour in whatever life throws at me. The one perfect example I have of already doing this, is the day of my Grandfather’s funeral.

Surprising yeah?

I’m not trying to make light of this situation. Losing a loved one is the most painful ache you’ll ever feel, and I loved my Grandfather immensely and miss him dearly. He was hilariously funny. If I had to describe him in three words, it would be firstly, sarcastic.., then witty… and finally.. tall!

The day of his funeral, all my immediate family had gathered in my Nanna’s for a private service before the church. After the service the vicar approached our side of the room.

Vicar   –    “I’m so sorry for your loss, which one of you is Auntie S? “

Turning to my Auntie M


Vicar   –    “Are you Auntie S?”

Auntie M   –    “Yes”

Vicar   –    “I’ve heard a lot about you”

Auntie M   –    ” Oh right”

Vicar   –    ” So Auntie S, Your staying with your Mam whilst we’re at the church

Auntie M   –    “Yes I am”

Out of the corner of the room, the real Auntie S lifts her hand and quietly says


“Um, I’m Auntie S”


The vicar continued to engage in conversation with Auntie M
Auntie S trys again, but slightly louder


“Um, I’m Auntie S”


This time the vicar hears her and swings around to speak to her.


Vicar   –    “Sorry, You’re Auntie S”?

Auntie S    –   “Yes”


The vicar quite perplexed swings back to Auntie M and asks the question that we were all starting to wonder..


Vicar   –    “Oh sorry, Why did you say you were Auntie S”?

Auntie M   –    “I don’t know! I panicked”


The Vicar smiles, and turns to face Auntie S


Vicar   –    “So you’re Auntie S and you’re staying here with Mam?”


At this exact moment, my cousin enters the room from the kitchen


Auntie S    –   “Yes, and that’s my son, he’s been sleeping with my mother”

I have to clarify at this point,  this was a completely innocent, innocuous remark, and the next minute was spent with Auntie S explaining what she had meant. All she had meant was that my cousin had been sleeping over in the flat to keep my Nanna company.

Rather than crying into a tissue as I had been, I was now using it to stifle my laugh.

My point is, as painfully emotional as that day was, when I reflect on it, that part always makes me smile, and it always will.

It made a sad day bearable. I smiled that day when I didn’t expect to, and I laughed that day when I thought it impossible to. I’ve no doubt in my mind that standing alongside us, doing exactly the same was my Grampa.

And that, is my inspiration to seek out the humour in life’s events and do more smiling and more laughing.

The lucky boy from Swansea who collected footballs

Somewhere on the banks of the river Tawe in Swansea, there once lived a lucky boy. He was about my age, I never knew his name, but he had blond hair and always wore a striped t-shirt and shorts.

When I was growing up, this lucky boy used to collect footballs belonging to my brother and I.

I haven’t thought about him in a long while now, but I pass the river every time I visit some good friends of mine. This week, whilst driving past, I thought back to the time the lucky boy collected our footballs.

It’s the early 1980’s………

In the Swansea valleys there is a little village called Cwmtwrch. The river Twrch, one of the tributaries to the river Tawe runs through it. Next to the river in Upper Cwmtwrch, there is a very special house.

In this house live some of my earliest childhood memories.

This house once belonged to my Grandparents, my Mamgu and Dadcu.

When I close my eyes, I can recall details of that house that are clearer than the room I’m sitting in right now.

Having an older, sports mad brother meant that from a young age I was always being cajoled into playing football, cricket, tennis….. the list goes on.

Coaxed with promises of  ‘We’ll play what you want to play later’, I was ushered outside with a ball of some sorts.

Being a five-year old girl, my football skills weren’t exactly brilliant, and inevitably, the ball would end up going over the white-painted wall, down towards the river.

At this point, my brother and I would scramble over the wall ourselves to see how lucky we’d been.

At best we’d find the football nestled between some rocks. At worst we’d find it slowly making its way downstream.

Next, we would rush down to the riverside armed with big sticks, stones and steely determination that we weren’t going to lose this one.

At this point, my grandmother would appear. I’m sure it must be innate in all mothers and grandmothers alike, that they make an appearance when a child they love is doing something hazardous.

Hazardous that is, through the wiser and more weathered eyes of an adult, but perfectly normal through eyes yet to learn and understand danger.

‘Alan!  Bethan! Get out of that river and get back up here now!!’

Defeated, we would climb back up and stand on the bank of the river, our Grandmother’s arms around us. Helplessly watching as the river, and it’s newly claimed prize snaked out of sight.

Our Grandmother would then always say to us…

Never mind, there’s going to be a lucky boy in Swansea today who’s going to find your football’

 

That, is how I know of the existence of the lucky boy on the banks of the river Tawe.

Despite envying him for most of my early childhood, that lucky boy will always have a special place in my heart.

Grandmothers will always do the best they can for their grandchildren….

OK,

This is my first post and I think I should start by admitting a secret that only two people know. Myself, and my Grandmother.

My secret?…. When I’m out of the house everyday I ask my Grandmother to look after my cats for me. That’s it. That’s the secret.

My grandmother doesn’t live with me, or nearby, I never see her, but I know she’s been. Everyday.

My grandmother died 5 years ago. But I know she’s been. Everyday.

Whilst its liberating to say that out loud, it now forms part of the external me. The part that others can critique, judge and form an opinion on.

It no longer just exists inside me. The part that only I can critique, judge and form an opinion on.

This bizarre daily statement started 18 months ago when I came home and found my little kitten out on the main road, covered in oil from being stuck under next door’s van. I hadn’t planned to go home as I was due somewhere else. I was indicating to go right, but for some reason I turned left for home first.

As I stood at my front door, I heard a pitiful mieow.  On further inspection I found a pair of scared, inky black eyes staring at me from under the van. I called her, she came and I picked her up. She was trembling, dirty and disorientated. I was now trembling, dirty myself from holding her, and confused….

I didn’t understand how she got there, but I did now understand what made me go home first.

15 minutes later the owner of the van jumped in it and drove away. If I hadn’t gone home at that time, then……….. who knows….

Since that day, every morning when I leave the house, I tell my cats that Nanna will look after them today.

I believe it.

With unfaltering faith I believe it.

I have nothing scientific to back this up. Just a spiritual belief, gut instinct, and faith. Faith, the most important of all. Pure faith that it is so.

I’m not naive or stupid enough to think that it provides  immortality for them, but it gives me peace of mind. Peace of mind that even from beyond the grave, Grandmothers will always do the best they can for their grandchildren.

Thank you Nanna…. God bless you xx