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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Her First Giggle for Daddy

Last night, Josh got to hear his baby giggle for the first time.  I'm not talking squeals in delight, not smiles with a chuckle attached... but a true, from the toes, can't stop it if she tried giggle.  You see, while Samantha Jadyn has always been a giggle-filled child, Christina is our serious child.  Much like her mommy, she knows when something is funny, yet she internalizes her joy.  You can see it in her face if you know her well enough and can find the minor (and I mean very minor) clues.  She doesn't hold back her charming smile... especially when there is a camera around to catch it or if she's thinking about doing something that is either not allowed (like playing with Daddy's laptop) or questionable (like opening the fridge to grab a snack).  She'll squeal in delight when something is exciting.  In fact, her squeal can break even the toughest ear drums if you're not careful.  But tickle her, chase her, sing fun songs with her... you're lucky to get a "I know this is fun, but you're not getting a laugh out of me" smile.

Being a homemaker, I've been privy to the rare giggle.  I can spot when the opportunity presents itself for me to capitalize on that moment.  But it has always come about when Josh is traveling or at work during the day.  Last night was different.  Nothing new happened... we were in the girls' bedroom getting them dressed for bed.  The puppies were supervising, Samantha was changing out of her play clothes, Christina was getting her diaper changed.  And I saw it.  The sparkle that is as rare as an eclipse.  It started in her eyes, and then her smile changed.  Josh was across the room from us, playing with the pups.  I tickled Christina.  She giggled.  Josh perked up.  I tickled Christina again, and the room went as still as that moment before dawn breaks.  Not realizing that she was the center of attention (which would have pulled her out of her giggly moment), Christina reached down to her toes and let out a giggle that took her breath away.  Shocked, Josh asked me to do it again.

Now, being the serious child that she is, Christina's true laughter isn't child-like.  In fact, her laughter almost sounds like a grown adult's laughter.  A passer-by could easily mistake that sound as coming from me.  But giggle she did.  She turned purple from her giggle-fit.  I sat there, on the bedroom floor, tickling and playing with our 18 month old child for a short 5 minutes.  As each minute passed my heart melted into a puddle of goo, and Josh's world turned upside down.  Samantha even sat next to me, joined in the fun, and rejoiced in the sound of her sister's joy.  At the end, Josh looked at me and simply said, "I've never heard her laugh.  Thank you."

This may seem like a no-big-deal kind of moment for those of you who are reading this, but understand this: Josh is a Soldier.  His life as a hands-on daddy comes only in the moments when the Army forgets to send him somewhere.  He has already missed so much of his children's lives, and that seems to make the little things like hearing your child give a true, from the heart giggle for the first time more important than birthdays, anniversaries, or trick-or-treating.  Those will come again the next year... but that giggle is something that your heart holds onto and remembers in your darkest moments.  It's a sound that his ears will memorize and replay for him in the solitude of a lonely hotel room.  It's a sight that your mind's eye will bring back to you whether you're awake or sleeping.  I was happy, to the very definition of the word, to have been a part of the scene as it unfolded.  It is impromptu moments like that which reminds me why being a stay-at-home family is so important to us.  Simple love... it's everything.

Enjoy some new pictures of the girls:
Sisters sharing a snack.
Her "charming smile" as she takes my pear.  It is hers
now, and she's testing if I'm okay with it.

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