Finding the Fun (Day #38)

We laugh a lot.  Husband and I.  We laugh at each other, we laugh at ourselves.  These days, we laugh at Lil Mil (especially at her scream poops.  Yes, the girl screams when she poops.  Not a cry of pain.  More of an aaaaaaaeeoheeoh Tarzan scream.  One of these days I might upload audio so you can hear it.  But I digress).

Anyway – we laugh.  Often at wildly inappropriate moments.  Husband has a wicked sense of humor, so most of the time, he’s the man behind the funny.

That’s what we do – we laugh at the funny.  We see the comedy in our lives and we embrace it with giggles and guffaws.

But what about the kind of laughter that comes from sheer delight?  That particular brand of ha that comes not from the funny but from the fun?

Husband, Lil Mil and I were in Colorado last week, skiing with my family.  Dad loves to ski.  Mom tolerates it.  The jury is still out on Sister and Niece H, both of whom tried it for the first time on Friday.

On Saturday, Husband stayed in with Lil Mil and I spent the day skiing with Dad (the rest of the crew spent the day on the bunny slopes).  It had snowed overnight, so there were about four inches of fresh snow on the ground.  Dad couldn’t wait to get on the slopes.

As soon as we arrived on the mountain, we began making our way to its back side, to the acres and acres of ungroomed terrain that make up Vail’s famous Back Bowls.  Dad was on a quest for fresh powder, and I was happy to come along.

A word about my dad and skiing.  He is a snow snob.  Plain and simple.  If the snow isn’t good where he is, he’ll go somewhere else.  For Dad, if there isn’t fresh powder, it’s almost not worth the effort to ski.

So, needless to say, Dad was in heaven on Saturday morning, when we arrived at the Back Bowls and found them largely untouched.  The powder was as fresh as it gets, like just-spun cotton candy.  The sky was a bright cerulean blue.  As we made our way toward the top of China Bowl, Dad looked back at me and grinned.  He was like a kid in a candy store.  A cotton candy store.

“I’ll follow you!” I shouted to him.  He nodded, and with a loud “whoo-hoo!,” he pushed off, descending into the bowl.  I followed him down.

The snow was deep – so deep that my skis disappeared beneath it as I flew down the mountain.  This is fun, I thought to myself with a smile.  So fun.

A smile.  That’s all I gave this moment.  A lame ass smile.

Dad?  He laughed.  As he whizzed down that mountain like a speeding red bullet, he hollered and yelled with delight.  He was doing something he loved, and so he laughed.  And from the sound of it, it was as though he couldn’t not laugh.  The laughter just sort of tumbled out of him in great, big, delighted bursts.

It didn’t surprise me.  That’s what Dad does.  He honors his joy with laughter.  The greater the fun, the louder the guffaw.

I want that.  I want laughter to bubble up and overflow from within me whenever I’m doing something I love.  I want laughter to be a reflex not a reaction.

So why isn’t it?

Today is my first full day back from vacation.  Assuming Lil Mil cooperates, I plan to spend the bulk of it at my favorite cafe, working on my novel.  I love writing the way my dad loves skiing.  So why don’t I laugh while I’m doing it?

I think there are a couple reasons.  The first is the more obvious one.  I’m out of practice.  Husband and I, we laugh at the funny.  We aren’t in the habit of laughing at the fun.

The second reason is harder to admit.  I don’t want to acknowledge that, to some extent, writing has stopped being as fun as it used to be.  I’ve let the fact that I have a rapidly approaching deadline seep into my psyche.  Writing has become a must-do in my mind, and I’ve never done well with must-do’s (which probably doesn’t bode well for my professional career, but that’s the stuff of another post).

But that’s just silly.  Because writing has always been a must-do.  Before I started this project, I was writing every day.  And not just for-fun stuff, either – I was writing scripts and treatments and pitches that had to be done.  I was writing things that weren’t just for fun, and yet they were fun.  So fun.

So what’s different?  Well, the stakes are higher, for one.  Which might sound weird, since my deadline is self-imposed and, for the most part, completely arbitrary.  But this project has become more than just a quirky experiment.  More than just a can I do this? endeavor.  In the last 38 days, my quest to embrace the detour has taken on a significance I didn’t expect.  Doing this – accomplishing my goal – is important.  To me.  It’s important to me, and because of that, there’s all this anxiety and pressure and stress that wasn’t there before.

I’ve been so focused on getting this done (I’ve got to get this done!  Can I get this done?  What if I don’t get this done???) that I’ve forgotten to enjoy the doing of it.

Thanks to Dad, I remember now.  I remember that this project is, as he would say, Great Fun.  In fact, this balancing juggling motherhood and writing and everything else thing might just be the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.  The kind of fun that deserves to be honored with the loudest and heartiest of ha ha has.

So here we go.  I’ve got 62 days to go.  WHOO HOO!!

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