I Laughed So Hard I Cried

Joy and pain, laughter and tears are so closely linked in our emotional make up that it’s often hard to distinguish between the two.

Writing belly busting, laugh your ass off, please stop before I pee my pants stuff is hard because it requires us to recall the silly embarrassing moments we’ve had and put them in print thereby revealing the klutzy doofus just beneath our veneer of cool.

Years ago when I was the young mother of an active two year old with another baby on the way, I submitted an article to a parenting magazine. I wrote of how I spent quality time each day reading to my daughter, holding her on my ever diminishing lap, reassuring her that their was ample room in my heart for both her and the new baby. I thought at the time that it was a brilliant piece about mother love that would astonish the editors and prove to the world my undying devotion to my children. The rejection that came weeks later when I was a sleep deprived, exhausted shadow of the serene woman who had written that sweet sentimental piece came in a form letter addressed to Dear Reader. I cried.

I should have written about what happened on another day, a decidedly less than perfect afternoon.

“Read ‘Pokey Little Puppy,’ my daughter demanded for the millionth time.

“I can’t find it,” I told her. “How about ‘The Little Train That Could’?”

“Pokey Puppy!”

I knew I wouldn’t win that one. Not at nap time when she was already so close to meltdown and I was craving some quiet time of my own. I’d find “Pokey Puppy.”

After searching high and low, under and over anything that could possibly hide her book, my daughter seemed to realize I was getting desperate and pointed to her overflowing toy box.

“Pokey Puppy,” she sighed.

Of course it wasn’t anywhere near the top of the pile of dolls, cast off game pieces or stuffed animals she counted among her treasures. After much digging I finally spotted it lying precariously on top of a pyramid of Legos near the bottom of the box. Just far enough down that I had to squat and lean forward to reach it.

“Pokey Puppy,” she squealed eyeing the familiar cover and rushing forward to hug me. In my unwieldy condition that’s all it took to knock me off balance. Oh s#*t! I cried as I started to roll forward, trying to catch myself. It was a lost cause. The next thing I knew I was upended in the toy box, with my enlarged backside where my head should be and my swollen ankles waving in the air. Can you picture it?

It took me longer than I care to admit to extricate myself from my predicament but did I finally manage to regain my composure and determine that the only thing hurt was my pride. I quickly read her the darn story and tucked her in for a longer than usual nap while I soaked in a warm tub and checked for bruises I would have a hard time explaining to my husband later that evening. And I laughed. I laughed at the vision of my ungainly body. I laughed at the idea of trying to mother two children when I was hardly more than a child myself. I laughed just to hear the echo of joy reverberate around the tub knowing that soon the cries of a two year old and an infant would be the only music I would hear for a while. I laughed in the face of fear. I laughed so hard I cried.

I’ll never know if the editors would have accepted that version or not but I do think it’s a much better story. Perhaps one I can even use today. If not, I’m sure my private doofus still has some tricks up her sleeve. Stay tuned.


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3 Responses to “I Laughed So Hard I Cried”

  1. Michele Says:

    That is so true! I love to read the stories that go “off plan” in some way. Often, you find more fun and joy in the unexpected. I can see you in my mind’s eye upended in that toy box! I have found that my favorite posts in my own blog are the ones about the “adventures” I have had. Some of what I write is sweet or touching, but the fun things that happen when I wasn’t expecting them are my favorites. And I have a very broad definition of fun!

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