For the second time this week I talked into the wee hours with a girlfriend — this most recent time, it was my sister. Long after our husbands fell asleep. John, at least, went to bed, but Alex fell asleep on the couch while she and I crowded into the love seat and laughed. Loudly. Dare I say we laughed out loud?
There were just too many stories to tell. We get that gift from our mom, who is the best story-teller in the world. She’d be the best in the universe, except that she rarely gets through the story on the first go because she has a tendency to crack herself up before she gets to the end.
Anyway, Mom’s storytelling has taught us a great deal, and it has less to do with weaving a story well, and more to do with the attitude with which she approaches life. Thank God for that because I can’t tell a story without getting distracted and going down a multitude of sidebars, back stories, and wild tangents (clearly, I get that from her sister).
The stories matter, of course. They are wildly entertaining and very funny, but there’s also some lesson to be learned. At the very least we can learn how not to do something that turns out disastrously, or we learn some grand moral lesson.
The best stories, though, have no discernible lesson beyond the simple sharing of an adventure, and the guffaws that follow. Those are the stories that family myths and legends are made of. Our mom finds the comical in everyday events and turns them into little moments of joy worth sharing, and that, perhaps, is the greatest lesson of all.
She’s taught us, by example, that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. That life, even when it seems hard and difficult to maneuver, usually has some little grace attached that shows us things will be all right.
And that, my friends, is nothing to laugh about.