Contagious Giggles… by JoAnn


Have you ever had a friend or family member that just being in their presence puts you in a laughing mood? I’m happy to say that I have had many such individuals throughout my life, and I am proud to say that I have been one of them myself.

What is it about the laugh, the contagious giggle? Where does it come from, and why? We all know it’s part of a human being’s makeup because the youngest of babies are known for their deep, hearty laughs. Fits of giggling will take over a baby’s entire body from the most mundane of things. Just make a funny face or blow into a tissue, and you will have the little guy laughing hysterically.

Why is it that many people continue this openness to laughter throughout their lives while others choose to suck on a lemon for most of theirs? Why are the contagious giggles a part of a child’s life for so many years, then mysteriously vanishes in adulthood? Could it be the stress of the average adult life that keeps the belly laughs away? I am perplexed by this.

I have always loved to laugh. I love how it makes me feel. The way a good giggle fit leaves me feeling as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’m drawn to it. I welcome it. I actually crave it! I don’t want my life to be without it. I believe the old saying that laughter is the best medicine.

When I was a kid, my sister and I would have regular, uncontrolled bouts of giggling. This would often happen after we had been tucked into bed for the night. If it went on for too long, our mother would yell down the hallway that she was going to give us a reason to stop giggling if we didn’t go to sleep. I always found it odd for her to be the one to tell us to be quiet because she was the biggest giggler I knew! There was no doubt in my mind that if giggling was inherited, my Mama gave me the gene. LOL

My childhood memories are filled with giggle fests that included Mama, me, and my sister. Sometimes, we would laugh so hard my dad would look at us in amazement, having no clue what had started us laughing. I seem to have the same kind of wit as Mama did. I have tried to pass it down to my children and, hopefully, my grandchildren as well.

Making my grandkids laugh is one of the greatest joys of being their grandmother. To say something so bold, so unexpected, and to see the look on their faces is my joy and my job. When they finally let their guard down and laugh, I measure how deep the belly laughs. That’s when I’m trying to make them laugh. Fortunately, I often make my granddaughters laugh just by being myself. Some could say that’s the wrong way of looking at it, but I choose to think positively. Anything that brings a moment of joy and laughter to my grandkids is a good thing. Actually, when it happens unexpectedly, it’s a wonderful surprise. So, I will continue to just be myself.

When was the last time you had a really good, roll-in-the-floor feeling belly laugh? One that made you cry? I love to get all my daughters together because I am certain at least one laughing fit will occur while the 4 of us are under one roof. Thank you, Mama, for passing the tradition along to me. It makes this old world a lot easier to tolerate.

1 Comment

  1. Tommy on September 2, 2023 at 9:20 am

    JoAnn, I think that when we avoid laughter, we’re taking life too seriously. My mother would laugh at the “drop of a hat.” Keep writing those good missives.

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