Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Laughter is the best medicine

One thing that my Dear Husband brought to our relationship from the very beginning lo these 16 years ago was a great sense of humor. He would make jokes when everything seemed dire to me, and it got me to loosen up a little, and then things got better. Over the years he's rubbed off on me, and now I make jokes when things seem dire to him, and he loosens up a little, and things get better.

Now we have our Dear Son, and tonight when I was soooo frustrated that he wouldn't even pick up the damn (scuse me, darn) train tracks and put them in the fricking basket right in front of him, I started joking. "Does the train track go here?" (I put it on his head.) "No," he laughs, "in the basket." "Oh, not here?" I put it on his knee. Laugh. "No, in the basket." "Ohhh," I say, "in the basket." So I sat in the basket. More laughter. "Not you in the basket, the train tracks in the basket." "Ohh, can you show me?" And thus some, if not all, of the train tracks got into the basket.

Which brings me to: Hospital Clowns.

Bet you didn't even know there was any such thing, did you? I think this is the coolest job ever. Clowns, who go into hospitals, and perform for the kids, pretending to be doctors. They perform kitty cat scans, red nose transplants, check to see if you are seeing spots (by holding up a polka-dotted handkerchief) (Oh, no, it's worse than I thought!). I think this is brilliant. It gives the kids a chance to laugh, which relaxes them, and lets their bodies heal. It gives them a feeling of control and power which they don't have the rest of the time in the hospital. It gives them a feeling of connection which is also lacking in the hospital. It takes their minds off their pain or illness for a while. It makes the families relax and laugh too. Brilliant! And the clowns aren't doctors like Patch Adams, they're performers who care about laughter as a means of connection, not put-downs. In Australia, they have clown doctors in every childrens' hospital in the country. Paid. Here in the 'States, I think it's more volunteer and occasional, not 9-5 M-F clowning for sick kids.

This is play in service to connection and belonging, hope and caring, laughter and joy. Hooray for Hospital Clowns, and all those like them who play for connection!

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