Laughter: Mother’s Medicine

“I’m so mad!”  My nine-year-old self slammed the front door and stomped down the hallway to the kitchen, where my mother was constantly positioned.  My little sister sat at the table, her legs swinging contentedly as she finished off a fresh baked cookie and glass of milk.

“Well, hello!” my mother responded.  “Not a good day?”

“That Chet Tesney makes me so mad, I want to kill him.”

Mom looked me up and down.  “Looks like you already did.”

“Not today.  I got in a scuffle with some kids at the bus stop.”

My mother sighed.  “There are cookies or muffins, but you are not to touch the pie until after dinner.  I’d wash up first if I were you.”

Catching myself in the mirror, I saw that I was a real sight.  I pulled a twig and a piece of leaf out of my matted hair, and washed the muddy scrape on my cheek.  Both hands, caked brown, were red beneath.  Looking down, I saw the stockings I had put on this morning now had a big hole in one knee, and mud was caking on more than one place on my clothes.  Stripping off the dirty clothes, I ran upstairs to change.

“How was school today?” My mother asked cheerfully as I helped myself to a warm cookie and pulled up a chair.  My sister had wandered off.

“Okay, I guess.  We were picking parts for the class play and that Lesley Mann got the main role again.  I hate her, it’s not fair!  Mom!  Jane has my favourite Barbie!  Put that down you little brat!”

“Girls!  Play nice.”  Mom seldom skipped a beat from her dinner prep.  She wouldn’t intervene.  I sighed.

“School is so unfair!  Miss P. said we’d be able to pick our topics for the history project, but Michael and David picked the same as me, so now I have to choose something else.  I hate school!  Now, she has my Barbie car, too!  Moooommm!  She’s going to break it!”

“Shreeeeeeaaaakkkkk! my sister screamed as I tried to retrieve my treasures.

“She won’t hurt it.  Let her play.  Why don’t you play with her?”

“It’s not fair!  You always take her side.  Why don’t you support me for once?!”  I could feel the rage inside me boiling over.  I wanted to hit someone and fast.

“Tee hee.  Ha ha.  Ho ho.”

“Don’t you start, Mother!”

“Ha ha, ho ho, he he, ha ha ha.”

“Mom, I mean it!”

“Ho, ho, ho, ho, ha ha ha ha ha ha, he he he he he he, ho, ho.”

Giggle.  “Mom, don’t make me!  He, he.”

“Heeee, heeee, hoooo, hoooo”  The laughter was so contagious I couldn’t help but join in.  Soon we were laughing so hard we could hardly catch our breath.

“What’s so sunny?” my four-year-old sister couldn’t say her ‘f’s, sending us into another howl, until the tears rolled down our cheeks.

“It’s not sunny!”  But it was!

“Oh, I’m going to pee my pants!”  Doubled over, my mother ran for the bathroom.

We laughed some more.  By the time the laughter subsided, I couldn’t remember what I had been angry about.

This is the gift of my mother.

 

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