Benjamin drove me to the post office this morning, and while we were sitting in the parking lot, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t looked in the mirror before I left the house. So I had no idea if I had egg smeared on my face, mascara ringing my eyes, lipstick on my teeth or something else out of place. So I asked him, “Hey, Benjamin…is my face askew?”
He looked startled and said, “WHAT??” I realized what I’d said, and we broke up laughing. We both pictured one of those Picasso paintings where one eye is where it’s supposed to be but the other is down where the nose should be and the nose is where the ear should be, while the other ear is only vaguely ear-like. We imagined my face like that which made us laugh even harder. Then after we got home, we were in the kitchen when this fly that’s been bedeviling us for days landed on the edge of the counter. I said, “Mister Fly, your days are numbered!” And I got the swatter and whacked that fly as hard as I could. Post whack, we peered at the edge where the fly had been. There was no sign of him, but a closer inspection revealed the unmistakable evidence (fly guts and a little whiskery leg, if you must know) of a direct hit. But we could not find the…umm, rest of the fly. Anywhere. We looked high and low—in the stove burners, in our morning coffee cups, on the floor, and in the sink. It’s always nice to know where a big, squishy dead fly fell, but seems particularly important in the kitchen (especially if you have, say, cookie dough nearby with chocolate chips and raisins shaped very much like flies,heh heh). Alas, no fly. So I got the fly swatter and we started re-enacting, in slow motion, the killing of the fly with Benjamin using his knowledge of physics to determine what arc that the dead fly’s body might have taken. It was then that we fully grasped the ludicrousness of the situation and we cracked up again. As we laughed, I felt one of those little rushes of love that mamas are prone to with their children, and I hugged him.
Afterwards, I realized how much those little everyday, ordinary moments of shared laughter bring you closer to those you love. For the most part, you’ll later forget the details, but the impact and cumulative power of those moments is far less fleeting. Warm shared laughter, I think, just strengthens the already strong ties that bind you to the ones you love.
I think I’m particularly mindful of how profound these moments are for us because it hasn’t been long since Benjamin and I were not doing much of anything together but talking and crying. Things were very difficult and intense in the months after Benjamin got out of the hospital. His breakdown was devastating—both to him and to those who loved him and helping him towards the light was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. So I savor our easy laughter, our gentle teasing. They are sweet, blessed moments of grace, and I am profoundly grateful for them.