I went to the playground with Rory the other day. She’s an only child (like me) and is a little apprehensive around kids her age. Because she wants it all to herself, of course. And can you blame her?
When we first arrived, no one was there. But then it happened…
Another 3–4-ish year-old girl showed up with her mom to play. Rory’s kingdom immediately had shrunk by half. And she wasn’t happy about it.
When the other little girl walked up to her, Rory shot her a stink-eye so stinky that I could smell it from the bench where I was sitting (or was that me — never mind). The other girl followed suit. These two were NOT friends.
They tried sticking to their own ends of the playground, but occasionally, they’d cross paths. Like dogs at a park, they’d kinda sniff each other (where you’re not sure if they’re gonna just sniff or start fighting) and then they’d scurry off to their own slides and skull-cracking ladders at their respective parts of the playground.
This trend would continue: play, cross each other’s paths, sniff, scurry off, repeat. Until one time, it happened…
When they crossed paths, a giggle emerged.
I don’t know why. I don’t know who fired the first guffaw. But it happened.
Soon, another kid-giggle lit up the air. And another.
And that was it. Hand-in-hand they played, laughing gloriously and shamelessly as they flung themselves down chutes and across treacherous shaky bridge crossings until we had to go home. And it was sad. And they hugged. And they tasted the painful joy of two little humans in this big world spending a moment of eternity together.
All because of one little laugh. Which is all it really takes for a connection to be made. Even for us big people.