Saturday, November 04, 2006


She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were sitting on the Silver Aerial Bus this morning enroute to Washington, D.C., where resides Elder Daughter.

Amongst our fellow passengers were a mother and daughter, traveling with the daughter’s brood: a little girl of about two years, and a pair of twins (male and female) a scant year younger. A handful, to be sure, but all of the kids were - surprisingly - well behaved throughout the entire flight.

Mid-flight, the two-year-old (whom Elisson had been amusing by playing Peek-a-Boo in the waiting lounge) laughed at something...possibly something her mother had said. SWMBO heard the gentle laugh and observed that there is nothing quite as beautiful as the laughter of a baby. I could not but agree.

As if we were struck by the same thought at the same time, we both recalled the days, some 27 years ago, when Elder Daughter (then Only Daughter) was a babe-in-arms. It was then, at the ripe old age of three months, that she laughed aloud for the first time.

We had been in Miami, visiting my grandmother - by then a crotchety old lady, but one of whom I still had (and continue to have) fond memories. After all, it was she who had taught me to use Vile Oaths in everyday speech. Elder Only Daughter was lying on her back on the sofa, and SWMBO was playing with her by dropping a crumpled up piece of tissue paper on her face.

O.D. must have enjoyed this, because suddenly she laughed out loud. A babylike laugh, to be sure, but unmistakable. And unforgettable. The memory of a child’s first laugh is a treasure that is one of the Defining Moments of parenthood, a shining instant in time when you know with absolute certainty that being a Mommy or Daddy is the finest, noblest work a human is capable of.

Elder Daughter has had many moments of laughter since that day, and she has returned the favor many times over. And here we were, on our way to see her in her new home...the realization of which made us both smile.

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