Monday, April 4, 2011

There is always laughter


Max is one month old. I cry a lot—in the shower, in the car, in bed in the middle of the night as Max sleeps beside me. I am surprised I still have any tears left. One night, Dave makes up a song: "Max makes big doooodies!" It is a ridiculous song, completely tuneless, with just that one refrain. But Dave tapes himself singing it and every time he plays it for me, I crack up. It is the first I have laughed in a long time.

Max is three months old. I have just blown a raspberry at him. "Heh, heh, heh," he says. He isn't smiling, so I'm not sure what is going on. I do it again. "Heh, heh, heh," says Max, and this time I see a little smile. My baby has just chortled. He may be showing signs of delays, and the spasticity in his limbs is undeniable, but he has hit the laughter milestone. And to me, that is major.

Max is in his car seat, perched on a table in a restaurant. He is a year old and Dave and I have just taken him to a physical therapist. We spend most of our spare time shuttling Max to therapists and doctor appointments. We are frantic about his future. There is a ceiling fan above the table; it catches Max's eye. He giggles...and giggles and giggles and giggles as he stares at the whirling fan. Dave and I start laughing, too, as do people at nearby tables. Just any couple with any cute, happy baby.


Max is cruising on our street in his new Pony walker. He's got wheels, man, and he is fast. He zooms up and down the road, enjoying the freedom of movement and being outdoors. He is laughing, and I am laughing, too, blissful to see my two-year-old using his legs like that. The therapists say he will be walking within the year. I can't imagine the day will come. But it will.

Max, Sabrina and I are playing hide-and-go-seek. I walk into living room. Max is sitting smack in the middle of the couch, with a blanket over his head. I say, "Hmmm, where is Max?" He giggles. "Is Max under the couch? Nooooo!" Giggle. "Is Max inside the TV? Nooooo!" Giggle. "Is Max on the ceiling?" SQUEAL! I run over and pull off the blanket, and we are both laughing hard, and I hug him tight.


Max and I are in a race car at Disney World, in Tomorrowland. We are flying around the track; I am pressing the gas pedal for him and helping him steer. In typical New York driver style, I slam on the brakes for no good reason at all. Max bursts out laughing. I stop and go and stop and go, and he thinks that is a laugh riot. Cars pass us by—but we are having all the fun.

Max's bus is pulling up to our house. Usually I am not around when he arrives home from school but I am in between work projects. I walk out to the street as the driver throws open the door. Max is standing there, laughing and stomping his legs from happiness. "AHMMY! "AHMMY!" he says, gleefully, pointing at me and looking at the bus driver. I run over, step into the bus and scoop him into my arms. And we are laughing. Just any cute, happy boy and his ahmmy.


23 comments:

  1. The expression in my neck of the woods would be "yeah you right."

    Charlie was still in the hospital the first time I felt happy again--surprised me because I had forgotten what it felt like. You are right, there is always laughter--even when things are tough.

    Great post, Ellen.

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  2. Thank goodness, for the laughter Ellen, sometimes I think it can get us through just about anything.

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  3. Happy tears, Ellen. This is beautiful and so true. I have a similar timeline of laughter milestones.

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  4. Yes!!!!!! That's when I feel Mikey and I understand each other the best, when we're laughing!
    And I adore the picture of Max in the White cap - I'm such a sucker for cute chubby hands. They would be kissed! X

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  5. Nice. Made me smile! I loved the snapshots through the ages.
    In case you're interested my recent post had the same moral, though many more intense emotions, too:
    http://www.outrageousfortune.net/2011/03/diagnosis-day-shattered-expectations.html

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  6. Yes, yes, yes! Just lovely. there IS always the laughter. Thank you for sharing your joy with us.

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  7. What a wonderful post, I am so glad you were able to find your laughter again and that Max has his. I love that kids with special needs can surprise those who don't know them or understand with their laughter and sense of humour, it is a blessing.

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  8. Stephanie PinksterApril 5, 2011 at 7:19 AM

    Sunday, Collin laughed hysterically for the first time since his hip surgery in June. He had the metal hardware removed last Friday and then on the following Wednesday cracked his femur where one of the screw holes are. He's relieved the plate is out, but then came the crack and in quote a bit of pain. However, I can tell the light is at the end of the tunnel because of that LAUGH!!! Everything that's happened in the past week was just made OK by that laugh. It told me that HE knows he's in the home stretch of this whole ordeal, and I couldnt help but laugh with him!!! Laughter truly is the BEST medicine!!!

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  9. I love this, my daughter can always laugh, even when the rest of us can't. What lessons I have learned from her.

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  10. My son laughs hysterically when looking at me upside down, can't help but laugh with him.

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  11. beautiful post - what a gorgeous kid Max was and is.
    laughter does help heal. thank god for it.

    kristen

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  12. This made ME laugh - which truly made my day! Thanks for sharing, Ellen! Hugs to you, Sabrina, and Max <3

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  13. Great post Ellen! I took a couple of videos of Mason laughing hysterically - one watching Ice Age and one listening to me read Snuggle Puppy. Whenever I am having a down moment I watch the videos and I feel better! Laughter has the most powerful healing power!

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  14. Love kids laughing...over any other sounds. The bus stop story is a keeper. I split my childhood years between the UK and the US. I was always driven to school in the UK and a walker in the US. I never rode a yellow school bus except for one brief time in preschool. I'll miss the day when the school bus doesn't stop at the end of my driveway.

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  15. That made me cry! So nice.

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  16. Great post! We should all write things like this, it can really help to get through the tough times.

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  17. awww the baby pics always get me! <3

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Thanks for sharing!