Life in the home of my youth had many facets, as I’m sure most homes do. There was work to be done, and rules to be followed, but there was also lots of joy and goofiness. My mother, Collene Byer Spencer, was the type of person who might do just about anything. We sometimes simply didn’t know what to expect. I’m sure part of it was from her own upbringing, because she would try to get us to sing songs with her, such as “Keep on the Sunny Side” which was designed to start our day in a happy way, or to ease the tension in a stressful one. If we just couldn’t be made to laugh, “Keep on the Sunny Side” was her first line of defense, usually followed by something goofy she said or did that would make us laugh in spite of ourselves and our sour mood. I suppose she had to come up with something, because life with five teenaged girls and the drama that went with it could be a challenge. Mom just wanted her girls to be happy and to know the joy that simply being alive brings. I can’t say that her plans always worked, because some of us could be a stubborn lot…ok, mostly me, but my sisters too. Still, I think of the five of us, I was probably the most bull headed. You can ask my sisters, and I think they will agree with me…possibly to remove any stigma of stubbornness from themselves, but in realty, I do think I was probably the most stubborn of us all.
I remember Mom sometimes making goofy faces, or acting in some outlandish way just to make the moment less stressful. Sometimes I think I should have taken note of that plan more in my life. I find that I have a tendency to be rather serious…possibly because I am a thinker, and usually deep in thought about one thing or another. Maybe cutting loose and doing something outlandishly funny would be good for me. It always seemed to make Mom a happy person. It’s not that I’m not happy either, just that I don’t usually show it in a big way…and sometimes I wish I could cut loose that way. Sometimes, I think my life is too serious in nature, too often.
I think my parents tried to do things that would make us laugh. Things like a bottoms up picture on a bridge to get a giggle out of everyone. Yes, that’s how they labeled it. Often times it worked, and continues to work now, whenever we look at the picture. It’s like a way of continuing their goofing off into the time of our lives when they are no longer with us. Who knew that those funny memories would serve to bring so much joy and happiness in our later years. I think we sometimes let our lives get far to serious. We all need to take a page out of my parents book, and cut loose sometimes. The longer my parents are gone, the more I truly understand just how very wise they were. It is my hope that I can grow to be as wise as they were. I love you Mom and Dad.
My grand nephew Jake has always been a goofy kid. His favorite thing to do is make people laugh, and he will do just about anything he can to make that happen. He has been known to sit on people’s laps just to see if they are surprised, and then turn around and goof off with a cousin or two to see if he can make them laugh…while he is sitting on the lap of the first person. Such was the case at the family Christmas party, when Jake sat on my lap and teased Mindy and Missy Grosvenor. We all had a good laugh with him. They though it was quite funny that he was sitting on my lap, and we all three laughed at the funny things he was saying. This is so typical of Jake, and one of the things that makes people like him.
Jake has really never met anyone he didn’t like. Every time I see him, he puts his arms around me and tells me I am his best friend. I don’t think I am really his best friend, but it’s nice that my grand nephew likes me. When you are the great aunt, you kind of figure that you are just a part of that older generation, and the younger ones really don’t give a lot of thought to the older generation, but Jake has always treated me like he enjoys seeing me, and that makes me feel good…but then that is what Jake was trying to accomplish.
I think Jake is the kind of guy who really likes to have everyone around him be happy. That is probably why he likes to joke around with everyone. Jake figures that if he can bring a smile to someone’s face, then he has accomplished his goal for the day. It’s not a bad way to be…especially when people are feeling down. It takes a special kind of person to work to make people smile, and that is what Jake is like. He doesn’t care if he has to look like a clown to do it either. I think that is what makes Jake special to me. Every time I see him he is upbeat and happy. It’s really cool when people can honestly say that about you. Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!