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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)

TITLE: HAVE A LAUGH ON MIA
By WENDY DECKER
10/20/04

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In most families, children are the creators of family nicknames. If big brother can’t say Sister, he may say Sissy. When the new grandchild can’t say Grandma, he may say Nana. In our family, the first grandchild created Nema, and the second dubbed Grandma, “Mia.”

Mia, also known as my mother-in-law, was the kind of grandma that splashed into a room like a fire hydrant opened for sweaty kids on a hot, summer day. And when she laughed, every head within a block’s radius turned. Some raised their eyebrows; some plugged their ears, but most caught her infectious laugh and laughed along with her.

Mia had the kind of laugh made for funhouses and sitcom laugh tracks. It echoed, bounced off walls, flew out open windows, traveled down neighborhood streets and often turned our faces red when we dined at fancy restaurants.

After she died, family gatherings became quieter. Laughter remained, but it was never quite the same. Sometimes we would put on old videos just to hear her laughter fill the room again.

Then, one day we gathered for a family event and Mia’s laugh came back to life. This time no video had been playing.

The first time I heard the walloping, belly laugh I turned to my husband and asked, “Did you hear that?”

“Do it again,” he said with a haunted, yet excited look on his face.

I lifted my two-year old daughter’s tiny t-shirt, brought my lips to her belly, and made raspberries on her tender skin one more time.

“HAHAHAHEHEHAHAGIGLEGIGLEGIGLE.”

Our children inherit many traits from us. Green eyes, crooked noses, straight teeth or curly hair. My little girl inherited the gargantuan laugh of her Mia.

It was as if my mother-in-law was laughing down from Heaven.

If Mia had been there, too, their combined, explosive roars would have rocked the town with contagious laughter.

For my husband, he had just heard the funniest, sweetest, and most wonderful sound in the world. One we all had missed for two long years. He had always been close to his mother. When he heard the mini-version of her laugh, it brought him to laughter, which brought him to tears.

The great thing about laughter is its ability to do many things, including wipe away tears and bring smiles of joy. This time the laughter brought back a life sorely missed.

As my daughter has grown, her laugh has become louder; and it becomes more and more like Mia’s each year. My mother-in-law will always be with us in our memories, but she lives on most thoroughly through the living legacy she left behind in my daughter.

Just as Sarah said after the birth of Isaac, “God hath made me laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.” (Gen. 21:6 KJV) My mother-in-law did the same for our family.

Sometimes, I hear a voice in my head when my daughter is howling in laughter. It’s the voice of my mother-in-law, and she says, “Have a laugh on Mia.”


Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Malley10/25/04
Wendy-
Awesome! What else can I say?
Jo
Melanie Kerr 10/25/04
well written. You made me want to meet the woman with a big laugh! What a legacy to leave someone!
Lucian Thompson10/25/04
Wendy, this is an incredible story. It made me cry and laugh, but mostly remember those in my life who bring the laughter back. Thank you so much for a moment of pure joy.
Lynda Lee Schab 10/25/04
Wendy,
You're right - it really never is the same once Grandma is gone. How wonderful to have your daughter as a daily reminder of the laughter Mia brought to your family.
Thanks for sharing.
Blessings, Lynda
Rita Garcia10/25/04
Wendy, WOW! Heartwarming story, great writing! I laughed, I cried, and said a prayer of thanks for the way God never ceases to bless us. Love, Rita
Mitzi Busby10/25/04
Wendy,
Great job!
Corinne Smelker 10/25/04
Ok, this week was meant to be laughter, not tears remember? Actually, it made me do both.

A lovely story - the judges have their work cut out for them this week!
Kristin Slavik10/27/04
Wendy,
What a truly touching piece! I love the way God weaves certain people through our lives, even when they can no longer be there themselves. Great writing!
Kristin
darlene hight10/27/04
Wendy, I totally enjoyed this story! What a blessing. When my first granddaughter was little instead of Grandma she called me "Craw" and instead of Grandpa she called him "Crawpa". How would you like to have those names stick. They didn't except occasionally when people are teasing.
Darlene
Debbie OConnor10/27/04
Excellent! I have tears in my eyes!
Lisa Beaman10/27/04
Great job! Great story! I'm sure Mia is very proud of both you and your daughter.
Marina Rojas10/27/04
I think a grandma's laugh would be a wonderful legacy to inherit! I loved this story! Thank you for sharing it!
Teresa Lee Rainey10/29/04
Oh Wendy, this is so wonderful! You made me laugh & cry at the same time. :^)
Phyllis Inniss 10/30/04
What a wonderful legacy Mia left you through your daughter. Great entry.
Jennifer Solla10/31/04
Thank you for sharing your Heartwarming story. Wonderfully written!