This phrase "laughter through tears" was coined to describe a lot of Russian literature. I have my own "laughter through tears" moment to record.... I almost titled this post - The Russian Orphanage Dictionary.
The "tears" part involves the fact that while we were in Russia our foster child reverted to being a smoker. That is bad. Worse is that somehow he and Ilya connected via this hideous habit. I addressed this with Maxim the other morning and was pretty firm about his being a bad influence on Ilya. He came in to talk to me later and told me that Ilya had been smoking since he was seven, and, anyway what he was doing prior to smoking with Maxim was far worse! Ilya was going over to the hospital near our house and picking up cigarette butts that he found on the ground and smoking them! And, he concluded very seriously, "Mrs. Kitching, that second-hand smoke is really dangerous!"
I couldn't help it; I burst out laughing. I never thought I'd hear another definition of second-hand smoke, but there you are.