Since finding out that I have breast cancer, I have been spending a lot more time with my kids, especially my 5 year-old daughter. Ok, so she’s the only one of the three who will agree to hang out with me. Why do you have to be so harsh? Anyway, either I’ve started listening to her a lot more closely, or she has become a first-rate comedian in the past few months. She makes me laugh out loud. Honest to goodness belly laughs. And that is no easy feat. I’ve just never been one of those people who guffaws, but I’ve always envied them. I’m more of a quiet snickerer, kind of like that dog Muttley on the ’60s cartoon with Dastardly.
I took my daughter to the local park last week for a picnic. Our park has a wide, shallow mountain stream that runs next to the walking trail and the picnic tables. It was a hot day, so I planned to let her go wading after lunch. When we finished eating, we headed down the trail to the water. I glanced over at her and noticed that she had a really worried look on her face. “What’s wrong, sweetie?” I asked. She hesitated for a minute and then asked in total seriousness, “Mommy, are there hippos in this river?” Seeing the concern in her eyes, I tried really hard not to bust out laughing as I envisioned bands of rogue hippos taking over the playground. “No baby. There are no hippos in this river. You’ll be just fine.” God how I love this girl.