The Angel of Laughter

Eva - Los Angeles, California
Entered on January 7, 2014
Age Group: Under 18

       Why am I smiling? Why am I smiling if there’s nothing to smile about? Or is there? Yes, it’s complicated. When I was four, my parents got a divorce. At the time I didn’t even know what the concept was, and why it was happening. I remember being confused, not only when it happened, but when we moved houses and my mom didn’t join us. Yes, it hurt a lot. But I had a secret weapon. Laughter. I’ve no idea where it came from. Maybe a special angel, who knows. If that angel had a name, I’d call it the Angel of Laughter. That’s why I’m smiling. That’s why I believe in laughter.

My dad called our house “The Happy House.” That encouraged my siblings and I to actually make it happy. It helped that there were so many things in the house to put a smile on your face: vinyl records hanging from purple walls; yellow “pick me” envelopes with happy quotes inside; a mini-clock coffee table; an original Beatles’ banner from the 1960s (our family loves the Beatles); and color everywhere. It was such a happy house that we added the word “party” to everything. Even when it was time to do our homework, my Dad would say: “Ok, time for the homework party!”

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that the pain of the divorce evaporated–poof! Just like that. No, the pain was still there. But the pain had company. There was music. There were jokes. There were the times we would all gather in my older sister’s room and watch episodes of Lost. There were the sleepovers. There were the birthday parties. There were the cooking lessons from my grandmother where I learned how to prepare moufletas, these thin Moroccan pancakes she made for my father in Casablanca. There were Shabbat dinners with guests–our family version of a weekly Thanksgiving dinner, when we’d share the blessings in life we were most grateful for. Personally, I was most grateful for, yep you guessed it, laughter.

It’s true that sometimes, in my down moments, I would ask myself: Why do I have to be the one among my friends to have divorced parents? Why can’t both of my parents be with me all the time? Why can’t I see my mom any time I want? Why, why, why? My Dad used to say that there is only one rule in the house, no whining. It became a family mantra. And because we couldn’t whine we would have to fill the void. More often than not, laughter acted as a suitable substitute. We would laugh about everything. With tears of joy and everything! Laughter was our favorite form of communication.

As time went on, the pain became quieter and the laughter louder. I realized laughter and happiness were in my power, in my control. That’s why the angel of laughter will always be my best friend. That’s why I’m smiling right now. That’s why I believe in laughter.