It has been threatened for a while.
She was always ready with huge tongue lolling smiles, arms and legs pumping like crazy, breathing rapidly, all the while urging her vocal chords to join in.
Tuesday night I held her in her bath, and gently pushed waves of warm water up her chest to right under her soft chin.
That was the trigger.
‘Keeeh hee hee hee.’
Over and over again. ‘Keeeh hee hee hee.’
A rolling hearty laugh that made her wobble and shake. The kind of laughter I’m certain neither you nor I have laughed in many, many years. From the very balls of her feet up to her throat, causing it's own little baby bath tsunami.
A perfectly scaled down version of the rasping laugh of a two pack a day 60 year old smoker, albeit with a head full of shampoo, sopping wet, and stark naked.
We could do no more than stand, gaping like idiots, laughing right back at her.
She was most likely oblivious to the risks she was running in choosing that particular moment to debut her laughing abilities, the combination of me struggling to hold her through my own laughter, and us leaving her submerged to the point of the onset of pneumonia in the hope of a repeat performance, may result in her never daring to try it again.
She did duly piss all over me shortly afterwards, so who knows.
We’ve had the ultrasound heartbeat, we’ve had the 3D video, we’ve had her first screeches and her babbles, but in truth none of it comes remotely close to this. None of it.
The difference between her not existing, from being the stuff of daydreams, something always just out of reach, to lying there laughing heartily up at the both of us is beyond calculation.
Long may the difference continue to grow, immeasurably. Unquantifiably.
If you haven’t read about the Hadrian's walk already, please do here, and if you can help somehow, regardless of how small, please do.