What’s funny?

I laughed at something or other I read online yesterday — some sarcastic line or political joke or wry comment — and Declan came running across the room.

“What’s funny, mommy? What’s funny?”

It wasn’t really anything I could explain to him. I told him that I just read something that made me laugh.

“But what was it, mommy?” He touched my knee and tilted his head to the side, looking me straight in the eye. I generally try to respond to any question he asks, so he’s used to an answer.

It made me think of the lifetime of small moments like this that I have behind me — the innumerable times that I did not want to miss the joke. The times I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to snuggle into the warmth of belonging you feel when you are laughing with someone else, into the safety of understanding the same thing together.

Every day, our level of conversation takes another step forward, as does his sense of independence. Like today, when he wanted to bring his starry comforter upstairs from the basement by himself.

“I can do it. I’m a very strong boy,” he told me, just like that, wrestling the thing up the steps. I didn’t stop him. I just maneuvered into a place where I thought I could catch him if he lost his balance.

He is still only two. Remarkable and hilarious and irrational and affectionate and cupcake-crazy two. For now, the answer to “what’s funny” can still be diverted with ease, no explanations necessary.

“It’s funny to have such a funny little boy,” I told him, and tickled him to the edge of wild giggles. “It’s funny and fun.”

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