“Smiling’s my favorite!” — Buddy the Elf
I can totally relate to Buddy the Elf from the movie, Elf. Smiling is my favorite, too (and, for what it’s worth, I really, truly believe we all ought to answer the phone by asking what the caller’s favorite color is). But sometimes life gets hard and we can forget to smile because, well,
LIFE GETS FREAKING HARD.
So I was thinking about the kinds of things that make me smile, and you know what? By the time I’d finished this short list (and it is a SHORT list…I might have a smiling addiction), I was grinning like a damn fool. But that’s good. Because now I feel lighter, and more determined to have a good day.
Here’s my list (which I’ve titled: FIVE THINGS THAT MAKE MYNDI GRIN UNTIL HER FACE MELTS OFF):
(1) When you smile first. There is something so special about a smile, connected with eye contact. Doesn’t matter if it’s somebody I know, or somebody I don’t know…a smile will always make me smile. Even if I’m having a really bad day.
(2) The smell of sheets fresh out of the dryer. I have the most vivid memories of folding sheets with my grandma, who was a domestic goddess. We didn’t just fold the sheets; we ironed them first. I remember the creak and groan of her ironing board as she set it up in her green kitchen (she had two, one green, one yellow); the smell of bleach and starch; and the really inappropriate folk songs she’d sing while she did it. I remember giggling a lot as I ‘helped’ her (every now and then she’d let me iron one of my grandfather’s handkerchiefs). So even though I don’t iron our sheets, or own any handkerchiefs, when I pull my family’s sheets out of the dryer, I’m taken back to a place when I was young and the world was easy and yes. Yes, I smile.
(3) When my kids hug me. Their hugs have changed over the years, from chubby toddler arms squeezing tight, to awkward pre-teen hugs that say I love you mom, but this hugging thing makes me feel a little weird. I get that angst – aside from my immediate family, I really don’t like hugs. But there is something so supernaturally sweet, so perfectly connected, about receiving hugs from your kids.
(4) Giving GinnySue my apple cores. GinnySue is getting up there in years, and doesn’t beg for food as often as she used to – it takes a lot of work to heave her old frame up off the floor. But she’ll always come running for an apple core. She has a sixth sense about it. Even if she’s three rooms away, and even if I haven’t bitten into it yet, she knows and comes running. Usually I make her share treats with Willie Nelson, but apple cores are special just for GinnySue. She gets the whole thing to herself. When I see her ancient doggy smile while she waits for it, her cloudy brown eyes bright and happy, I just can’t help myself. I smile.
(5) Coming home. It doesn’t matter where I’ve been or how long I’ve been gone. It could be a quick trip to the grocery, or a road trip to another state…when I see our home in the distance, it makes me smile. Our home is a refuge, a safe place that’s always filled to the brim with love and chaos and forgiveness and kindness. Really, it has more to do with the people in it than the place itself, but there is something special about a place that’s inhabited by a family filled with love. I think echoes of that love carry on, even when the people are gone, like a residual blessing that saturates itself into the walls. Otherwise, coming home wouldn’t feel so good.
What puts a smile on your face? What sort of things do you find yourself grinning about throughout the day? Even if you don’t feel like commenting below, take a minute to think about it. Because, I promise, just thinking about it will make you smile. And there isn’t a smile on the planet – no, not one – that won’t make your day just the teensiest bit better.
Have a lovely Monday, friendlies!