I laughed today. Not one of those teehee laughs, but a side splitting, ear-shattering laugh. The kind of laugh you remember for the rest of your life.
Sitting in the back of our rented van, my mom’s head thrown back, a torrential downpour of her laughter raining down on my brother and sister sleeping in the back. Me, 5 years old, utter joy pulsing through my veins.
Chasing my brother up the stairs, falling at the top tickling him so hard he turns purple. My stubborn sister sitting down during a performance on our dance team. Me, loving them so much I always laugh.
Walking down the aisle arm in arm with my dad, the only man I’d ever really trusted. Watching him hand me off to the man who truly makes me laugh every single day. Me, laughing so hard; joy, sorrow, excitement, nervousness, happiness…pure happiness.
8 months pregnant playing a daring game of outburst with the exuberant Klipschs. Girls vs. Guys, game is on the line. Gentlemen only by title have to guess other names for “fart”. My eldest brother-in-law shouting the most repulsive expressions ever heard by my poor sister-in-law’s virginal ears. Me, without breath, gasping for air and feeling the sweet strangulation of a good laugh.
Grunting, pushing. “He has long eyelashes!” 8 lbs 8 ounces of the cutest mass of person ever seen. A miniature Zach in my arms staring up at me. Me, holding my firstborn knowing it is only the first time he’ll make me laugh so hard I cry.
Stirring Alfredo sauce in a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago. My big-eyed sister-in-law pouring me another glass of wine. Discussing deep issues with sarcastic tones. Fighting to look like anything but desperate housewives. Me, crossing my legs, watching her through tear streaked eyes and thanking God for a feeling this good.
I want to bottle it up, my laughter. The feeling you get when you’re surrounded every day of your life by people who make your stomach hurt. How do I bottle that up and send it to the people touched by tragedies I’ve never known? How big of a bottle would it require to make them feel for one second what I get to feel every second?