In sixth grade, we made rock candy. I don’t remember much of the science or the project or the taste. But I do remember that we all brought in cups (plural) of sugar and kept them in our locker the day of the experiment. I also remember one of my best friends and I reaching for something in one of our lockers and watching in horror as a container of white sugar cracked to the floor and spilt everywhere.
To this day, I remember how hard we laughed. I remember the immediate horror—would we get in trouble? Where do they keep the brooms? Wait, how will we make our rock candy? And digging into my memory bank to write this post, I realize I don’t remember the answers to any of those or of really what came next. I’m sure we helped clean it up. I’m sure we somehow made rock candy eventually. And I’m sure a broom was involved somewhere.
But I remember the laughter. The friendship. The way this became a core memory of our relationship. It’s worth noting that to this day, this classmate remains one of my dearest and oldest friends.
There’s a lot of statistics about how kids laugh more than adults. Research shows that children are giggling around 17.5 times more frequently than adults in the course of each day.
I was talking to a fellow adult recently who mentioned that they don’t always laugh out loud when watching a funny movie or comedy special by themselves. They weren’t sure why and we weren’t troubleshooting their media consumption. Just an observation really. Maybe we don’t laugh as much as we should.
A couple weeks ago, I was holding a box of vegan truffles. I unwrapped the ribbon and found 4 distinct chocolates inside. Naturally, my co-eater and I knew that in order to try each of the flavors, we would have to split each chocolate in half. And so we did that. Delicately. Over the course of a few hours. Meticulously splitting bite size chocolates into baby bite sized treats.
When I went to throw the last wrapper away and break down the box for recycling, I realized there was a layer of paper underneath… a layer that lead to four more chocolates, identical to the ones we had so dutifully split.
And I absolutely lost it. I mean sink to the floor, clutch your side, tears in your eyes, belly gut lost it. I had purchased these chocolates… apparently with no recollection of the quantity. And I had painstakingly assured that we’d have equal bites of the sweet treat. And after all of that… after all of that… there were 4 more chocolates. Enough for each person to have one full truffle in each flavor.
And so I laughed. I laughed over spilt sugar… like I had 15 years ago in my elementary school hallways.
And perhaps if we are to have moments like this… gentle, silly, harmless moments of genuine delight, surprise, and joy… maybe we can build more laughter into our worlds. Maybe we can build more light.