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This sentence is from the book Dreams Do Come True by Jim Bishop.

When I asked about the diamond earrings, she smiled and cried at the same time. 'Your father had to pawn them. But he will get them back.'

What does the phrase "smiled and cried at the same time" mean concerning with this sentence?

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In your story, the boy's mother's dream was to have a pair of earrings which later had to be pawned during "hard" times. When she received those earrings, they meant everything to her and made her very happy.

The combination of smiling and crying shows the bittersweetness of her memory for the earrings, happy that she had them (with the nice memories) but also sad that she lost them, and her continued hope that her husband would get them back. She may have also wanted somehow to hide her true feelings of sadness from her son.

It might have looked something like this

here

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