Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Healing Power of Children’s Laughter…

June 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Health, News, Weekly Columns

( I lay in bed floating on an antihistamine high. I felt a presence at the side of my bed so I opened my eyes and stared into the face of innocence. Barely able to see into the bed my four-year-old son stood on his toes watching me. “Daddy, are you okay?” he was concerned.

“Daddy is just a bit under the weather today.”

‘Can I give you hug?”

Let me tell you, nothing satisfies like those little skinny arms around my neck. I felt better immediately. He ran downstairs to announce to his mother that he had given daddy a feel better hug.

Ahh Childhood. A time when puddles are for stomping in, running is just so we can feel the wind in our face and a hug and a kiss will cure most anything that ails you; A time that disappears all too quickly. Age often brings more than just wisdom it brings cynicism as well. Perhaps we suffer too much heartbreak. Maybe its just that we no longer have boundless reserves of energy, but as we get older what was possible becomes impossible or not worth the effort. We avoid puddles lest we dirty our shoes, run only so we can lose weight and for my money we don’t hug or kiss nearly enough.

We recognize how precious those qualities are. As adults we bust our humps to provide safety and security for our children and are outraged when anything or anyone acts to rob them of their innocence. Yet, often we become so focused on protecting them that we forget to enjoy them. We are focused on paying the bills, preparing dinner and getting projects for work finished on time and forget to revel in the healing power of our children’s laughter. We focus in on the “why me Lord?” and tune out their stories that go on and on with no direction and no end. We sit them in front of the television rather than put business to the side and indulge in that wonderful sense of everything being possible.

I plead guilty as charged. And it’s too bad really because my boys will not be young forever and I will miss their childhood when it is gone.

The other day my oldest didn’t take my hand as we crossed the parking lot. Over the years I have grown used to feeling him slip his fat little hand in mine as we cross the street or walk through a parking lot. This time my son didn’t take my hand as he normally does. He jumped out of the car and simply walked by my side. It was so subtle that I almost didn’t even notice it, but I missed the feel of his fat little hand in mine. When did it happen? I thought. When did he stop needing me to hold his hand? When did my first baby become a boy? It happened so fast.

It may have been the cold medication playing tricks with my mind but in the midst of the fog I had a moment of clarity. I was suddenly outside myself watching, seeing time march by; days falling like leaves. My sons were men. The innocence of their big brown eyes was replaced with the wisdom and cynicism of adulthood. Sadness washed over me.

The day will come when my 4-year-old will not look up to me lying on my bed sleeping off a few ounces of cold medicine, but will look down upon my elderly body lying in my deathbed. That’s just the way it is. The cycle of life. He will take my hand as I took my fathers hand in his last moments. I wonder if his hands will still feel as small.


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