It starts with a pucker of mirth from the corners of his pursed lips. It grows. It becomes a grin. I can see the guards of his mouth–his teeth, give way–the secret can no longer be contained. His bright blue eyes widen and light up and simultaneously crinkle in that instant that every little, ripe bubble of joy bursts outward into iridescent mini-rainbows, vivid with color, yet somehow translucent, even invisible. Sounds that make jello dance and daisies turn heads percolate from his soft, tiny body. His shoulders jiggle. The rise of his giggle is pure joy. Think tiny soap bubbles as they drift up into the sky. Pop. Pop. Pop. This tingling laughter sprinkles my face as it rings out from his itty-bitty belly. It’s hard to imagine but it must be infinite and cavernous in that little but mighty belly because the many playful and happy sounds echo and fold and chase each other as if engaged in a game of tag. “You’re it,” one laugh declares. The other turns back around and touches its companion on the shoulder and says, “No, you’re it.”
“No tag backs,” roars the first, in delight.

But there are no rules. His giggles continue to chase each other, back and forth, around and around, until they deepen and stretch and start to yawn. Guffaws have run far away and heave as they try to catch their breath. They are puppies playing chase at the dog park. It is a sun-shiny day. But even puppies must flop to their bellies then roll to their backs, tails still wagging in delight. It’s the same with his laughter. The ballyhoo dials down, then it drops to its knees with hands anchored at the waist. His body needs a break, but his fiery inner merriment continues beam through his eyes. Mini mirrors of mine. The slowing breath brings us back down from this rambunctious, fun ride–it’s a hot air balloon ride high, and we are touching back down.

Bare feet on soft grass, warmed by the sun’s loving, elongated kisses. She has blown them this way, especially for him. We, meaning me, he and all his laughter, collapse into the snug blanket of ground and embrace each other. I watch the rise and the fall of his chest and see his smile is once again sealed by satin little-boy lips. His immaculate face is aflush; he is radiating the moment’s joy from inside out. This is my source of warmth. Now, he closes his eyes and post-parade peace sweeps over him. A sweet memory with the lasting token of a lollipop tucked in his pocket. This is calm. There is no sound quite like that of a little boy’s laughter.