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The Cheery Song of ‘Robin’


Professional Career Counselor & Marriage Educator

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The musical song of the American Robin is a familiar sound of spring. It’s a string of 10 or so clear whistles assembled from a few often-repeated syllables, and often described as cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up. The syllables rise and fall in pitch but are delivered at a steady rhythm, with a pause before the bird begins singing again. At dawn, the song is more rapid.

But did you know that American Robins often make a mumbled cuck or tuk to communicate with each other or a sharp yeep or peek as an alarm call. Yet, they also make a repeated chirr that rises in volume and can sound like a laugh or chuckle.
I love this last description because I often think that laughter is one of the best behaviors in life!

One of my favorite authors, Ann Lamott, writes, “Rest and laughter are the most spiritual and subversive acts of all. Laugh, rest, slow down.” While another favorite, Erma Bombeck, wisely advised, “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” And both recommendations have served me well throughout the rollercoaster of life! Our immediate family of five; my handsome, mustached and quick-witted husband, along with our tall, dark-eyed, charming eldest son and his sharp wit and causticness, and the flash of clever absurdities and slapstick from our beautiful daughter, and the ensuing funniness of our youngest son with his twinkling mischievousness and good looks keeps me in stitches, smiles and tears laughing with them or at them!!! I can’t say how many times folks have told us our family should be a TV sitcom, while I wonder if we are actually on candid camera because I can’t possibly make this S^&* up and it’s so funny I have to tell somebody!

So for many years as a little girl, I didn’t like my name ‘Robin’ because kids can be so cruel and all of the ‘nicknames’ that were attached to my given name from my parents hurt my feelings. But as I’ve grown older, I think perhaps Robin is very suitable for me, because laughter, giggles and chuckles are common, and my name was given in love; after all what matters is what something is, not what it is called…and my life is full of laughter. I like going to comedy clubs, listening to comedians on Pandora radio, reading humorous books, sharing quirky ecards, and being around genuinely amusing individuals.

Ultimately, like Erma Bombeck also stated, ““There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”


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