We were rushing around to get out the door on time this morning (...again) and I was trying to encourage my daughter to eat her breakfast while I finished getting ready.
As I was brushing my teeth, my three and a half-year-old ran into the bathroom with a huge smile on, peanut butter smeared all over her face, and socks on her hands.
I was exhausted and it wasn't even 10:00 a.m. yet. Plus, we weren't even close to leaving.
“Come on, honey! Why are you covered in peanut butter? We're trying to get ready so we can get in the car.”
I was annoyed and was quickly losing my patience.
She looked up at me with major disappointment in her eyes and said, “I was just trying to be funny, Mom.”
She looked so sad.
She tried to make me laugh, and in her eyes, she failed. I could tell she was embarrassed. I could tell her ego was bruised because her joke fell flat. Because she didn't get the laugh she was hoping for—especially when she usually does.
I know she felt this way because I see how her ability to make others laugh is one of my daughter's strongest qualities. It’s something she relies on to make connections with other people. It gives her a sense of empowerment, a sense of self.
She often says, “Mom, I'm funny, right?!” Then I say yes (because honestly, she really is!) then she says, “Watch this!” and does something hilarious. She is proud to be funny.
Her sense of humor is a huge reason why she's a confident, self-assured little girl.
Her sense of humor gives her courage.
I often watch her go right up to other kids and introduce herself. I see my baby tell a funny story to a big group of people without batting an eye. She does great impressions, the funniest faces and the silliest dances—in front of other girls, boys, adults, etc—and she doesn't hold back. She will make you laugh no matter who you are or how old you are.
She jumps right into everything she does—unafraid of falling.
Her sense of humor gives her power.
Trying to make someone laugh requires vulnerability. But with the openness and honesty of vulnerability comes power.
She's asking to be seen, she's demanding to be heard. She's putting herself out there—unsure of whether she'll succeed or not—but taking the risk anyway.
Her sense of humor gives her confidence.
My daughter started preschool this year and so I just had my first ever parent teacher conference last week. And you know what they said about my baby girl? That she's confident and comfortable and has jumped right in with all the children since day one.
Now I'd love for my husband and I to be able to take most of the credit for the confidence our daughter has, but honestly it has a lot to do with her ability to make people laugh. Trying to make someone laugh requires you to believe in yourself. It requires you to know that you're worthy of people listening to you.
Her sense of humor gives her a zest for life.
She is one enthusiastic, positive, happy little lady. She goes hard. She smiles with her whole body. She laughs with her whole heart. She truly makes the most out of every second of every day.
She spends a lot of her day “cracking up” as she says, and she keeps us cracking up all day too.
I am one proud mama.
So, my funny girl, I want you to remember a few things—
Never be afraid to be the one who laughs the loudest.
Never be afraid to take up space. Let your presence be known. Let people hear your voice. You have a lot to say. And it's definitely worth hearing.
Never be afraid to speak up and crack that joke. Making people laugh is good for the soul. And sure, it may not always work—but when it does, it'll make any of the failed attempts worth it.
Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. Don't take yourself too seriously. Life is supposed to be fun.
Never be afraid to be who you truly are—without fear or doubt or hesitation.
Because you're really funny.
Like peanut butter all over your face, socks on your hands really funny.