Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Letter to Daniel

Dear Daniel:

You were laughing earlier, at the antics of that crazy-ass penguin Pingu, who I just don't find all that funny, but I guess the 4-year-old sense of humor is a bit more open than my own. But your laughter was amazing, and it got me laughing too, and after a few minutes I actually started to tear up because I realized that it reminded me of the first time you ever laughed -- a moment that is as vivid in my mind as if it had happened only hours ago.

You were six weeks old. You had been an early smiler -- flashing smiles for all to see from the time you were only three weeks old -- so it wasn't a huge shock to see you laughing. It was the day of Rosh Hashanah and I was getting you dressed for going to temple with me and Daddy and Edyn. I even remember the outfit -- a little blue bodysuit with duckies on it, and matching plaid shorts; there was a little sweater to match -- it was a gift from Jeff and Sue Butwell, and I don't have a single photo of you in it, but who needs a photo, right?? And I had just finished fastening your diaper and I bent to kiss your forehead and tickled your bare tummy, and you smiled and then... The Laugh. It came from deep in your belly and bubbled up and out of you like the most beautiful music I've ever heard. And I sucked in my breath and my eyes teared up, and I realized that this moment, this big laugh out of such a tiny little human, was what I had been waiting for all along -- my entire life, even.

Because captured in that laughter was all the love and beauty and hope and faith in the entire world -- if it could be bottled and sold, we would have world peace. I know it sounds ludicrous. But it's magic, your laugh. And it still is; it hasn't changed. It's gotten a bit fuller, and it last longer now than it did then. It's laughter from your very soul, and you do it with abandon, and I know everyone thinks their kid is the most beautiful one on the planet, but when you're laughing, you truly are the most beautiful kid on the planet. You've touched countless people in your short life with your laugh and your blessed sense of humor; you're never that kid who walks into a room and brings the place down because you're crying and whining and bickering. You're the kid who walks in with a big grin on your face and a pleasant hello for everyone you encounter; you're the kid who even melts the heart of the crabby person at the grocery store who hates kids. And then you say something hilarious and forget it -- you kill every time, to use the comic's phrase. I'm constantly amazed by it, this effect you have on people, and on me in particular. I can be angry with you at times for about five minutes, and then you do or say something goofy and that's it, I'm gone, laughing.

I've often wondered what I did to deserve such a pleasant, fun kid who's been so easy on me since day one. Here's hoping you stay that way, but even if you don't, I hope to God you never forget how to laugh like that. Because it's truly amazing. I don't know how else to put it. It's my miracle drug -- you know, like Mommy's favorite U2 song about what being a parent is all about. You're my miracle drug.

And I love you.



Georgias Maximus, Feline Esq. said...

Lyrical at times, touching, reflective of the cornucopia of love it so eloquently describes... thanks for sharing

melissa said...

That's an amazing letter, Shannon. I hope Daniel knows how lucky he is to have such a good mom who loves him so much.

Kate said...

Wow, I have tears in my eyes! That is so sweet... I wish I could remember Ella's first laugh like you remember Dasniel's.

Kim (your cuz) said...

Just lovely Shannon. I remember the first time Noah laughed like it was yesterday. There is nothing sweeter...