A few nights ago we were having dinner as a family. The nine year old was telling us about a project he has been working on in school. He has to write an article about a topic of his choosing. The article has to have an introduction, three paragraphs with information or facts, a conclusion, and pictures.

He has been working on this project for some time now. Working really hard. None of it comes easy for him. Researching. Putting together words to make sentences, then paragraphs. Writing it down. Typing it. Adding pictures. None of it comes easy.

He puts in a great amount of effort. He’s very conscientious about trying to do “good work.” Everything is done except the pictures. His article is about Venus and Uranus. He found a picture of Venus and put that into his article. He has not found a good picture of Uranus.

“I’m almost done,” he tells us.

I nod and smile, saying, “that’s great kiddo.”

“But I can’t find a picture for Uranus…” his voice cracks a little. I look closer at him. He’s near tears. Oh man, poor kid.

“It’s so hard. Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of Uranus?” His eyes are huge and he looks so earnest. Telling me about this challenge he is facing. I try desperately hard not to smile but nod and agree with him.

“Uranus. I can’t find a picture of Uranus!” he repeats himself. His pronounciation of Uranus emphasizes the first part of the word and it sounds like “your”, then a pause, and the rest of the word, “ay-nus”.

He continues to look at me with mounting levels of frustration. I continue to try not to laugh. I tuck my lips into my mouth. I want to offer help or reassurance.

“Uranus, I don’t know why I picked that…” he trails off, still looking at me.

I finally give up. I laugh. I laugh so hard I have tears running down my face. I have to wipe my eyes. He looks shocked them starts laughing because I am laughing.

When the laughter abates I sigh. Now I have to explain to him why I am laughing about the word “uranus.” I think I may have the maturity level of a twelve year old.

If I were my own best friend I would remind myself to laugh more. It really is the best medicine. I didn’t solve any issues that night. He still had to talk with his teacher and figure out how to find a picture of Uranus and paste it into his article. The work still had to be done.

But for those brief moments the work did not feel so heavy. The world felt lighter. And my nine year old learned a little bit about his mom and her inability to hear the word Uranus and not laugh. For that I am thankful.

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