One of my main family objectives has always been to make sure that our home has been filled with laughter. Often that has meant being the source of silliness or the recipient of one of our kids pranks. When our kids were young, I would often find myself pushing them on the swing in our backyard. One day one of our kids saw a squirrel and said, “dad, look a squirrel,” as I turned to look, a foot hit my backside. It was just a brush, but I heard a giggle, and I realized I had an opportunity to create laughter. From that simple moment came one of our kids’ favorite activities, “crazy squirrel.” I would push the swing, they would yell “crazy squirrel,” I would turn, they would hit my backside, and I would tumble, summersault, and flop like I had been hit by a two by four. Over and over, they would hit me, I would tumble, they would laugh, cackle, and giggle until they were in tears, and then I would hear, “do it again dad!” This became the swing set routine for years. I have tumbled, and flipped more times than I can count. To this day when Gent or Ris see a squirrel they still say, “hey dad, crazy squirrel” and there is the biggest smile. My grandson doesn’t’ know it yet but soon crazy squirrel will return. I’m hoping I’m still fit enough, and even if it means being a little sore, I’m planning on flipping and falling just to hear the cackle and laughter of Carter. Why? Because there is no better gift you can give your family than laughter. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, laughter is always good medicine. How do I know/ Saturday Mary, Gent and I took a quick day trip to Washington D.C. We visited a few museums and saw some landmarks. It was at one of those landmarks, the Washington Monument, when we decided to take some pictures. Gent had the iPhone, and I was waiting for Mary to get in place when I heard Gent say, “dad, hold your hand like this.” I saw the smile on his face, and I knew what was up. He wanted my palm turned up like I was holding something, I complied, and then the requests, “a little left, up some, over, down and to the right, yep right there, hold it.” And then it came, a roar of laughter and a big smile. I was holding the Washington Monument in my hand. I knew where it was going, it was just a matter of when, Insta. Didn’t care though. I made my twenty-six-year-old son laugh, created a memory for a lifetime, and reminded him that he’s worth any prank he ever wants to pull on me. Too many focus on giving kids things that cost money, but one of the greatest gift you can give them, is the gift of laughter. It will remain long after you have passed. Still have doubts? Ask my daughter, Risa, about some socks that ended up in my pillow for a week and then get ready to see the biggest smile and tears of laughter. Here her story and then watch for my revised and corrected version in a later blog!