“You know, we don’t laugh much around the house,” my almost 9-year-old said as we walked home from yet another school event. Don’t ask why we walked. It’s a long story for another time.

“We laugh,” his older brother and I said in unison.

“You fake laugh all the time, Mom.”

“No, that’s real laughter,” I attempted to assure him as I tried to recall when I last laughed. But the look on his face … it was obvious that he wasn’t buying it.

The wheels in my mind started churning. In a way he was right. As a family, we don’t laugh nearly as much as we should. Sure, I laughed more this year than I had in previous years, but not nearly enough.

The line-dancing instructor (red boots) helps the stroke survivor during a recent practice.

Today, I went to a line-dancing group’s practice. Among its members is a stroke victim who writes a lot of what he wants to say on a clipboard. One of the things I saw on his various scraps of paper — “Don’t Don’t take the little things for granted.”

My mind was blown.

That’s part of why I haven’t written much here. The primary one being I wanted to spend more time with my family and away from the computer. The oldest is 13 and still talks with me and likes running with me. I’d rather spend my time helping her navigate her teenage years than sit behind a computer screen.

I spent a lot more time behind my computer screen this year. Or at community events. It’s the nature of my job and I love it. But after a certain time of the day, I just wanna sit and listen to my family interact.

My efforts to be sober have slipped, repeatedly, just like my multiple quests to get healthy. While I now know the underlying problem that causes certain behaviors, I am still struggling to find positive ways to deal with my reaction. It is a slow, and sometimes painful, process.

What else can I tell you? I had a great brainstorm about where this blog is headed. Then I didn’t write it down and forgot most of it.

I can tell you that this blog helps me and I plan to continue writing here. I just know what I have been doing and how I’ve been doing it isn’t working.

I need to laugh more. My kids need to know my laugh is real. My kids need to laugh more too. If they aren’t having fun, I’m not having fun and vice versa.

Life is a struggle, but it is also beautiful. There are these moments of joy that I seriously wonder if I squish before they can spark.

I need to let my past die and build the present into something new.

I’m smiling after a 2.5 miles speedwalk. I’m feeling strong, just need to work on my cardio.

Today, I took that first step: I speedwalked 2.5 miles before it started raining. I learned how to line dance with someone who had a stroke about three months ago.

And I laughed while walking around in the rain.

That felt awesome.