My grandma used to call me the Family Clown. My sister was the smart one and I was the funny one, and I was okay with that. In fact, I liked it. I got decent grades myself, and was far from the class clown in any classroom, but among my family members I loved being able to make them laugh, especially my grandma.
Maybe part of it with my grandma was because we had a language barrier and I felt like being able to make her laugh was my way of connecting with her, but I liked that she found me funny, and I wore my badge of Family Clown with pride.
And I realized today, as I sat at dinner with a group of friends, exaggerating some of my parenting antics, watching my friends laugh and nod their heads in appreciation of the chaos that is parenting, that I still like being a "funny one." Knowing that my friends found my comments funny (partially because they could relate to the drama) gave me a sense of who I am. Or who I always was.
I was always the Family Clown.
But now, fifteen years and three kids later, I feel pretty far from that Family Clown. In fact, when it comes to my family dynamic, I'm pretty sure no one in this house would label me as funny. The crabby one? The discipliner? The one who yells about picking up the mess? Sure. Of course. But the one who is good for a laugh? The one who will lighten the mood with something funny? The one who can tell a story that makes make you laugh till you cry? Not so much.
Honestly? I miss that. And I didn't realize just how much I missed it until tonight.
Of course, I do want to qualify this. I'm not that funny. I don't claim to be any sort of comedian or anything. There are many so much more hilarious than I will ever be. Mostly, the point of this post isn't so much about being funny as it is about feeling like I lost part of myself somewhere in the road of growing up. But seeing my friends throwing back their heads in laughter as I described the state of my car and just why the state of my car could be declared a state of disaster, brought back that same feeling I remember from my childhood. That same pride I felt when my grandma referred to me as the Family Clown.
I may not be a Jay Leno or an Amy Schumer, (not that I even want to be) but yes, I can tell a story that makes people I love laugh. And I miss that about myself. I liked that about myself.
I don't know if this all means I need to stop taking myself so seriously at home. Or if I need to start telling more exaggerated stories about what motherhood (in my house) looks like. Or if I just need to start spending more time with my friends. But I'd like to feel more of the silliness of my personality. And I'd like for my kids and husband to experience some (more) of my silliness too.
On the rare occasions I've let my silliness out my kids have really embraced it. And people are always talking about how important a sense of humor is, especially in parenthood. So I should take this evening's revelation as an opportunity to find my humor again. It would be quite nice to do a little less stressing and a little more laughing.
Laugh as much as possible, always laugh. It's the sweetest thing one can do for oneself and one's fellow human beings.
- Maya Angelou