Laughing at Our Tears

It’s one of those silly things that well-meaning older people say to you when you’re in distress… “Someday, you’ll laugh about this…” And you roll your eyes, and you keep on crying… because you know you won’t. How could you.. ever? The idea of “laughing at our tears” actually comes from a far more ancient text that our grandmothers — it comes from deep in the ancient world of the Old Testament Bible, at the precise spot of Psalm 30:11.  And, I’m starting to learn that the old bits of wisdom found there — are always true.

So there we were, sitting in our finest dressy casual clothes, the lights in the restaurant low, candles flickering, with wine glasses in our hands, and we were laughing. But what was coming out of our mouths was far, far from “funny.”

Somehow, we were talking about those dark, dark moments of post child-birth-colic-sleep-deprived months. Sharing the stories of just how bad it was. Because, for some of, it was really bad and dark. And there is no way anyone could have convinced any one of us, at the time, we would be laughing about this some day.

I can still feel the despair I felt when I came home from the library, baby in sling, reading all I could find on how to treat a colicky baby, and reading that colic lasts for 3-6 months?!  I will not survive this! 

Or, the story of the other mom, who would beg to wash anything for her husband, just so she could go down into the basement and cry, in peace, while the washing machine drowned out the sound.

And today, we stand in dumbfounded amazement at what to say to those silly newly-pregnant first-time moms, who say “What was childbirth like, and how did you get through it?”  Honey, childbirth is the easy part… that is the least of your worries. 

I won’t sugar coat it for you… they were dark lonely days… and it was comforting to bring it all out in the opening, and hear, for the first time, I wasn’t alone — even though I was.

But there we were… laughing… and the best part, as I looked about the room, down on us, was that we were not alone today. Wasn’t that the worst part of those post-childbirth times? Being alone? That life, as we knew it were gone forever?

OK… so I see it now. No matter what, I will laugh about everything someday… it’s true. And now, I have made my passage into those well-meaning ladies who can say this and know it’s true. And, yes, I expect to get that same reaction, from that younger person who thinks I have no idea what I’m talking about, when I actually do.

Even in those dark, dark moments of mourning, there is always something, a gift somewhere that shines brightly into the future, from the past.

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