It was Sunday night and the convention was over. The attendees had departed for their homes and the hotel staff was doing their best to make everything back to normal. Usually Howard and I try to depart before the hotel is emptied of the people we love, but this time we stayed an extra night. We did it on purpose so that we would have time to visit with some dear friends who were local to the convention, but who had not had time to come. Two hours is not enough time to catch up when you haven’t seen a friend for two years, but we snatched the hours we had.
I sat there across the table from my friends. Howard had already said his farewells and gone, exhausted, to bed. I lingered because I don’t know when I’ll see these friends again. An anecdote wound down and my friend asked “So how are you doing. Really.” And I began to talk. I tried to summarize, but each detail trailed a cloud of explanation. They listened to all of it. At one point I found myself telling the story of the hardest day last Spring, when the Elementary school staff called me down to discuss Gleek and I met with her teacher, the principal, and three other staff members to discuss what steps were necessary going forward. It was the week when Gleek stayed at home for a few days while we figured things out. The same week when Patch’s teacher also called me to say she was worried about Patch. I was telling that story with all the details of the specific incidents, and I realized that I was using my best story teller mode.
We were laughing through the whole thing.
It was an overwhelmingly, ridiculously difficult week and that was why we laughed.
I couldn’t have laughed at that story six months ago. I’m not even sure I could have laughed two months ago. Last Sunday I laughed. Because it is done, we survived, and the details of the story display the cleverness of my daughter even in difficult emotional circumstances. I can’t promise that all hard things will have laughing later, but far more of them will than we ever expect when we’re going through them.
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