Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Power Of A Smile

Summer is my busiest time of the year. Since Annabelle was a baby, I have babysat through the Summer months. Having children in the home who are in different age groups can be a challenge. This Summer has been no exception. This week has been no exception. This is the first year that I have three different age groups in my home: Hazel, being a very needy infant; Annabelle, being an independent pre-schooler; and this year, Gretchen (name has been changed for protection, since she is not my child). Gretchen is 6 years old, so that gives me my third age-group. School-aged.
So we have three very different sets of needs, schedules, and interests.
We have managed so far with walks, visits to parks, and reading books from the library.
This week, Gretchen has been at day camp!
Great. I will be loaded up, and out of the house by 9am every day, ready to run my errands. Then I can come home for swimming, lunch, and naps.
Who was I kidding? It's been more like: running out to the van, racing against the clock, breakfast half-eaten and shoved in my bag, jamming more into my morning than I accomplish in an average week, late lunch, and fighting an over-tired pre-schooler down for her afternoon nap, praying she doesn't wake the sleeping infant in the next room.
Three days in, and three out of four of us simultaneously ran out of steam.
I struggled to get out of bed by 7:15, Annabelle struggled to follow simple directions, and Gretchen struggled to get excited for camp.
We talked in the van about how much fun she would have with all of her friends, but I wasn't getting anywhere with either of the two girls.
If I didn't figure something out fast, we were in for a long, grumpy day.
So I did what any Mom would do in this situation.
I cranked up the radio, and danced like a fool at a stoplight. I I think I embarrassed the girls, as they begged me to stop.
"I'm not stopping until you both give me a great big smile!"
Finally, they cracked. Big, bright smiles crossed their faces, as they started to giggle.
Then Annabelle said something insightful.
"Smiling makes me happy."
So simple, and so true.
Smiling makes me happy.
If we would all wake up, and greet the sun with a smile, our mornings would go much more smoothly.
I held onto those words for the rest of our day, as we smiled through a near-empty gas tank, late lunch, and rough nap routine.
We all need to smile more.
Because smiling makes you happy.
Children can be out best philosophers, as they have the freshest, most innocent view of their world. They don't add caveats to their thoughts, or complicate them in feeble attempts to be poetic. They are just straight-forward and simple.
Smiling makes me happy.

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