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from crying to laughter

October 27, 2009

the scene…a tiny one bedroom apartment, 500 square feet – max, i’m sleeping in my bed. it’s almost time to get up for school. i dreaded 2nd grade. mostly because i didn’t like being away from my mother. i didn’t have separation anxiety, i was just afraid her boyfriend would beat her a little too much before i got home and i wouldn’t be there to help her.

my mother and i shared the one bedroom, while my brother slept on the couch. he didn’t mind…he sneaked watching t.v. all night and raiding the fridge. bachelor in training i guess.

this one particular morning, as i was slowly waking, i heard my mother sobbing on her bed tucked in the corner. she didn’t cry very often. in fact, she rarely did even when her boyfriend would pummel her. she was very strong. or stubborn. or both. so, to hear her cry was very difficult for me.

in between the sobs i could hear her ask herself, “what am i going to do?” over and over. of course, i had no idea why she’d ask that – all i knew was that she was crying and hurt – i couldn’t bear that.

so there i lay…eyes closed, pretending to be asleep, heart breaking for my mama. what can i do? not long before, my mother shared some invaluable words with me. she told me that no matter what happens in life…find the funny. you can always laugh at something – find that thing.

and i did. i slowly, slightly, opened one eye to see where she was facing. she was looking my way. i quickly closed my eye, but not before noticing a small folded towel at the end of my bed near my little feet. throughout the night i had made my way out of blankets and was lying on top of them all. so…i decided to reach down, pull up the folded towel (while keeping it folded) place it over my shoulders as if it were a big blanket keeping me warm.

writing about this now, it seems so completely stupid and not funny. but for some reason…it made my mom laugh. she burst out in hysterical laughter assuming i was sleeping, cold, thinking that little towel was my blanket and determined to get warm with it.

several seconds into her laughter i began giggling. i couldn’t hold it back. my tiny shoulders were bouncing up and down causing the towel to move rhythmically along. she hopped off her bed, came over to mine and crawled in beside me. she put her arms around me and said…“you knew exactly what you were doing, didn’t you tam? and you knew exactly what i needed.”

it’s so strange how some of the worse moments of my childhood are also some of my best memories. lessons and learning often come after having to endure pain. i certainly don’t want to miss those opportunities to learn and grow.

i certainly don’t want to miss the funny moments either. they’re there. we just gotta look for them.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2009 9:03 pm

    Great post!!! I felt like I was right there with you. I must say that I have many times been in the midst of a breakdown, full of tears, when something funny will make me laugh. Its that laugh with crying type, but its oh-so-good. 🙂

  2. October 27, 2009 9:03 pm

    you’ve always loved others well. even in the midst of such pain and heartache. i admire you so much for that.

  3. October 27, 2009 9:09 pm

    Wow, just wow!! 😀

  4. October 27, 2009 9:10 pm

    I agree with Alece. You have this amazing ability to put your needs or fears aside and in turn you place your attention on others and what they need.

    Just one of the thousands of things that make you an amazing woman. And me a blessed man.

  5. Nicole Wick permalink
    October 27, 2009 9:19 pm

    Sometimes I don’t even know what to say. This is one of those time. I’m crying right now thinking about the pain and fear in that little girl’s heart. It melts me and makes me want to rescue her towel and all. But, I can laugh too…maybe not haha laugh but laugh none the less. I see how far you have come and the ways that God has worked in you and through you. That makes me smile. So, I’m both crying and laughing right now knowing that this scared little girl becomes such a vibrant, strong woman. Love you. xoxo

  6. Heidi permalink
    October 27, 2009 10:29 pm

    You always tell me to find my joy through my situation

    …. my joy??

    …… joy??????

    Yes, my JOY.

    You are my inspiration!

  7. October 28, 2009 12:03 am

    ” He will turn my mourning into dancing..” Amen.
    This was good Tam. I can see it, I can understand it.
    Thank you for having the courage to share it.

  8. October 28, 2009 1:57 am

    Tears, that’s all, I got.
    I can’t imagine what you have gone through.
    Feeling quite Blessed.

  9. October 28, 2009 4:40 am

    I second Alece and Brent. You are amazing. Your heart is amazing.

    and…I love you.

  10. October 28, 2009 5:45 am

    Oh, Tam. You break my heart – and amaze me, too. Thank you for sharing your story – today and every day.

  11. October 28, 2009 6:01 am

    this story is precious. i know it comes from something so sad, but as someone who also had a difficult childhood, i know exactly what you mean when you say some of your worst moments are also some of your best memories.

  12. October 28, 2009 8:18 am

    Tam you’re contagious. Doesn’t matter what I am going through, less than five minutes with you, I’m laughing and it’s all better. Thank you for saying “Yes Lord”…. it’s impacted many lives.

  13. October 28, 2009 9:51 am

    love it.
    There’s an echo of familiarity in the shadows behind your words and I’m peering between your lines and giving you a nod of recognition.

  14. October 28, 2009 10:20 am

    Wow….is all I can say. And I love “find the funny”. What a great perspective. The way you were able to express this is just so amazing.

  15. October 28, 2009 10:30 am

    Thank you for this blessing of a post!

  16. October 28, 2009 2:32 pm

    Yep, there’s funny everywhere. Thanks for being one of the joy-bringers Tam.

  17. October 28, 2009 3:34 pm

    I think this should be the intro to your book.

    But you’ve probably already thought of that.

  18. October 28, 2009 5:59 pm

    I love you so stinkin much…

    When can I start reading your book? I’ll offer to capitalize and add punctuation for you if it means I can read it sooner 🙂

  19. October 29, 2009 3:43 pm

    i just read all these comments together and my heart is to the point of bursting. i am in awe of who God is and how He has allowed so much blessing in all our lives.

    thank you all for being a part of mine!

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