This is Erika Shirk, of Overflow. Although Erika and I didn’t know each other a few months ago, it is our chance meeting and idea to write together that started this whole summer adventure. Thank you so much for sharing with us today and all summer long, Erika!
I tend to take life, and words, and actions seriously.
Too seriously at times.
On our last date, my husband made a joke about something. Just a funny comment, but instead of laughing out loud or acknowledging the fun with him, I laughed on the inside and smiled at him, expectantly waiting for his next sentence. At the same time he looked expectantly at me waiting for my reaction and then said, “that was supposed to be a joke.”
I can get a little detached from humor.
Apparently, even when it’s funny to me, I’ll sometimes forget to laugh on the outside.
Silly blows right by me in the same way sometimes. I know my kids are just having fun, but it more often registers as just messy, or crazy, or time-wasting, or embarrassing.
My kids, however, love silly.
At almost two, and three and a half, they are perfect ages for silliness to run rampant and unorganized. They shriek, laugh, spin around in circles, and throw themselves around freely and wildly. They cover their faces in chalk out of curiosity, ask the same questions again and again, and pull their cheeks into misshapen grins with gusto.
They don’t care about social expectations or to-do lists. Their nonsensical ways make sense to them and they are busy being themselves. They invest completely in their games and their enjoyment of life, or their disdain for it – as illustrated by the multitude of toddler-sized tantrums that roll across my kitchen floor.
They use their silly to connect, and to create a moment when a shared joke is acknowledged or silly faces from across the room say “love ya”. Sometimes it’s as simple as a game of peekaboo (something I never think to do with my three year old) or just using humor to redirect behavior (my kiddos love smiles or exaggerated frowns in place of verbal directions). Their favorite thing is when one of us grownups joins in on their games. It’s meeting them on their own turf. It’s a bid for connection.
I’m starting to see there might be more to silly.
Maybe it all comes down to that connection. We bend down and engage in our little people whose lives and perspectives are different from ours. Their language of connection is laughter where ours may be truthful words, but we can reach toward each other and engage.
Maybe it’s the joy we gain from being who God created us to be, and allowing others the same, without worrying about what other people think.
Maybe it’s the free appreciation of all the good that God has created, without forgetting the bad, but also allowing the good and beautiful to be freely seen and known in the moment.
Maybe it’s an invitation to stop sliding through life in a hurried daze and instead stop and smell the roses (maybe even the trick roses).
An invitation to relax and be ourselves, to stop taking ourselves so seriously, to slow down, to enjoy laughter with loved ones, to smile into the eyes of the child who won’t stop begging for attention, to let ourselves wonder about the meaning of silly in our big serious world.
We can shut silly out and let our own adult lives take front and center stage. We can buckle down and get through the hard stuff with the rest. Or we can choose to let the silly in, as so often and so well illustrated by our children. We can lighten up and appreciate simply living in this mixed up joy and pain world.
But silly still isn’t my natural setting. I have to choose to enjoy it. I take pictures and smile more. I join or observe in the chaos daddy initiates and revel in the fun they choose on their own. I have to let their natural silliness settle into my tight places to see the joy that God allows the little ones in their play.
These little bodies of wild and joy, showing me simple freedom.
Sometimes life is more fun when I am more fun. And sometimes it’s just more fun when I simply acknowledge more fun.
It’s a different piece of rest and wholeness.
Bio: Erika is a learner of a grace-filled God outside the boxes, wife, stay-at-home mama of two toddlers & soon enough infant, wannabefast runner, allthebooks reader, seeker of all things beautiful, lover of chocolate, and writer of all of it. She blogs at Overflow, is sometimes on Facebook (daylilyoverflow)
Now it’s your turn! Our #WholeMama prompt word for the link-up this week is “Silly.”
HOW TO JOIN:
- Journal or blog your thoughts on “silly.” If you’re blogging, link it up with us below, so we can read and encourage.
- Read other people’s processing (as links are added to the link-up below) and encourage them.
- Join the Twitter party tonight (Monday) at 7:30 PST/9:30 CST and later. #wholemama
- And we’re still giving away free books written by Christian women, just for sharing on the #wholemama hashtag on Instagram. Just share your images of #silly or ordinary life (being a mom is not required) to be entered in each week’s random number drawing.