As a kid, I laughed at the WRONG time. Brother just got clotheslined during a game of Red Rover? Makes me laugh to this day. Other brother fell off the back of my mom's bike STILL ATTACHED TO THE BIKE SEAT? Laughed until I could laugh no longer. Let's just say that I tend to find humor in the WRONG situations.
Today we were working on thank you cards for Julia's birthday gifts. Julia was composing the most AMAZING messages to each friend as I typed them out for her, the plan being for her to copy them into her cards later.
Now this kid is an amazing writer. She has such voice and is very conversational. Her school journals recently came home and I was chuckling over how brilliantly she'd chosen to say everything.
A few times I got such a kick out of her phrasing and the WAY she was composing it aloud, that I had to surpress laughter. Then came the moment when one of her letters became a bit wayward and wandered away from a thank you and arrived at the doorstop of a quaint recapping of birthdays gone by. Something struck me as particularly funny about his and folks, I lost it.
I wasn't laughing AT her, or out of a mean spirit but she totally felt mocked. There was no way that I could explain WHY that moment was funny to me but it just was.
Her response was very Julia. Her eyes welled up and that directly extinguished the mirth. Then she attacked me. It was very primal, she was mad! Angry fingers that had been peaceful for so long found my cheeks and squeezed roughly. My laugh and her tears suddenly made ME want to cry.
So I did the wrong thing by laughing, but I also did a bang up clean up job.
Later I sat her down with all earnestness and exlained that I was truly wowed by her letters. I pointed out her best one, we worked on staying on track on another and she came back to finish her letters. I made sure to let her know, genuinely, that she amazed me and I was wrong to laugh. I also asked her to apologize for being rough with her hands. She sat and copied two of them down and did an amazing job. Seriously, they are amazing. Her writing is priceless.
Still. I will always regret that laugh.