Laughter is a wonderful thing! I love to laugh. One of the reasons I fell in love with Todd is because he loves to laugh as well. A sense of humor is a precious gift, one that I believe not enough people have nor appreciate. What is more, laughter often conveys more information and meaning than some of the words we say to one another.
Both of our children love to laugh as well. In fact, much of our time together as a family (nuclear and extended) is spent in playful banter and exchanges. Over the past year, Teddy has been transforming from the one who is laughing to the one is doing and saying things that cause the laughter. It is really amazing to watch this transformation because if you really think about it, when you are trying to make another person laugh you are really trying to bring them momentary joy. How cool for a little boy to want to bring joy to others!
Then there is Nina. To say that Nina loves to laugh is the understatement of the year. Nina's appetite for laughter is only matched by her appetite for real food :) In other words, Nina really loves to laugh. Not only does Nina love to laugh, her laughter is contagious, it always has been. I vividly remember the first time Nina laughed. She was barely two months old and we had just returned from a trip to Holland to visit our dear friends Yvonne and Robert and their two boys. I was sitting in the bathroom with Nina, cleaning her face with a warm wash cloth. As I wiped her mouth, I started to make some funny faces and sound effects (I love sound effects!) and then it happened....she laughed...the sweetest, most delicate laugh! I shouted out to Todd who was really bummed that it hadn't been him who had first made her laugh :) We then spent the next 30 minutes trying to get her to laugh again, to no avail.
Bottom line, when Nina laughs you can't resist but laugh right along with her. It is the kind of laughter that gives you a momentary high from feeling so happy. Over the course of this past month, especially the last two weeks, I have been studying Nina and discovered that her laughter comes in many different forms. There is the "that is the most hysterical thing ever" laugh, the "Wow I'm kind of embarrassed for you" laugh, and even the "You are crazy but I love it" laugh. Then there is my personal favorite, the "Holy smoke I can't believe that you are actually doing that" laugh. I especially love this laugh because there is a twinkle in her eye, like she knows that what is happening right before her eyes and is causing her to laugh is special, goofy, and maybe even a little naughty :)
This morning as we drove to radiation, Nina kept laughing. I would look at her through the rear view mirror and she'd start laughing...the "Holy smoke, I can't believe that you are actually doing that" laugh. When we'd make eye contact, she'd even avert her eyes in an effort to control her giggles, but it was useless. She literally laughed the entire car ride to the Cancer Center. As we pulled off the freeway onto Mission Street, she looked at me through the rear view mirror and said, "It is funny when grown-ups where pull-ups!" It if funny when grown-ups where pull-ups, especially out in public!
Okay before any one freaks out, I was also wearing jeans...over my pull-ups. You see, Nina was having chronic accidents. Dr. Brennan had ordered a urine sample to see if she happened to have a bladder infection. In the meantime, I had asked Nina to wear a pull-up until we were done with Cindy. I had made her a promise the night before that whenever she had to wear pull-ups that I would too!! A promise is a promise....so....here I was....driving to radiation....in my mini-van.....wearing my rockin' skinny jeans and pull-ups!!! On our way to radiation, I called my father-in-law and told him about our latest escapade...and I told him that I finally had junk in my trunk (just like him...hee-hee...) to fill out my jeans :) Let's just say that he laughed so hard he almost choked on his coffee. I didn't feel too bad. He had sent me an email earlier saying:
Since we were running late, there wasn't much time to chat with Cindy about mama's goofiness first thing in morning. But Nina didn't skip a beat. After she had her belly full from eating pancakes and fruit salad following treatment, Nina informed Cindy about how funny her mama was. Cindy looked at me with her beautiful dark brown eyes and smiled the most approving smile I have had in a long time! She recognized that I was just a desperate mom trying to make her child happy, irrespective of personal humiliation :)
We returned home to our normal routine...lunch, movie, cuddling, laughing, waiting for daddy and Teddy to come home. Larisa came by in the afternoon. She too looked at me facetiously but didn't resist inquiring about my pull-ups status :) This situation is a complete nightmare, no doubt about it! But I do love that people can still allow themselves to have fun with us, to joke with us, to laugh with us. We are constantly aware of the storm cloud hoovering right over our heads but we will not turn away from a single second of joy, happiness, and laughter!
Our evening was lovely. I dropped off Nina's urine sample at the lab right before dinner. Dinner was once again marvelous and such a blessing! Teddy finished his homework packet and then showered. Nina bathed, this time with less crying about the water temperature; I just made sure the water was tepid. Teddy practiced some reading with me. Todd told me how amazing Teddy was doing with his anxiety; on their own they had decided to practice having Teddy walk to the school corner and meet Todd at the car, instead of Todd walking to the classroom and picking him up. As Todd told me of this marvelous accomplishment, Teddy beamed with pride! We kissed on him and told him how extremely proud we were! He smirked...so proud of himself!
Nina and I brushed our teeth and said goodnight to the boys. Nina put on her pull-up and I....I put on mine. As I crawled into bed with Nina, she looked at me and started laughing! I kissed her glistening lips and thanked God for her laughter!
Then I had to adjust my pull-ups...they were on a bit crooked! Nina laughed!! I was happy!!