Laughter is the Best Medicine
As a teenager, I was babysitter to my two young cousins. They were sisters, about two years apart in elementary school. I was in high school at the time.
I spent my summertime in their home enjoying the endless use of their telephone, unlimited refrigerator privileges, and noting the boys in the neighborhood. I didn’t completely ignore my little cousins. I gave them some small duties and had them bring me this or that as I sunned myself by their pool. They found this to be a lot of fun, so did I. We laughed a lot.
I took care in always getting the best of them. When their parents brought fast food I was quick to negotiate a deal that would assure me of getting their largest fries and so forth. After all I was the oldest—speaking chronologically only, of course.
At day’s end, they would typically be worn to a frazzle and sunburned. I was rested and had a nice tan. In my defense, they went to sleep early at night and were all smiles again come morning.
There was an exception or two. One particular night comes to mind that they were kept up a bit late as I had managed to lock the three of us out of the house until just past midnight. I was terrified, but they took good care of me. Finding this to be a hilarious situation, they kept me in stitches out there in a dark that wouldn’t allow us to see our hand in front of our face. Help arrived, I don’t remember who, probably a neighbor we had disturbed. I do remember that no one else found it as funny as we did.
My two sweet cousins and I spent many a summer in this blissful existence, walking to the beach and the convenience store when they had money for me to spend. One predicament after another befalling us, we laughed.
One night I told them that a certain beach ball we were playing with, had taken on the character of a famous singer of the time. We tossed him back and forth, battering him until there was no air left in him. Great psychological stuff for these little girls, right? Oh course, they were much more astute than I was so nothing I did or said had a damaging affect on them. Looking back, sometimes I think they’d have been better off left on their own, but my memories leave me thankful that their parents didn’t feel that way.
I watched them grow into adolescence and continued bestowing my wisdom and advice on them. They continued to know better than to take it.
At tender ages, I was there for them and their mother as their father, like a brother to me, went to be with the Lord. They stood by me when my mother went on. All grieved in faithful strength inherited from our grandmother.
I thank the Lord for these two cousins of mine who have grown in their faith and are teachers of children. May they take the laughter of their childhood into the classroom everyday. Between them, they also now have five beautiful children of their own, one of whom I am almost certain will be called to the ministry some day and two of whom are exactly like me. Just for the record, girls, maybe you shouldn’t let these two baby-sit. On second thought, I think they’d be grand at it!
Still today, no matter what calls us together, my dear cousins, whether our souls are aching or rejoicing, when you two are present, it brings laughter to my heart.
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