Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Reason to Smile by Nannette Croce

Everyone benefits from a reason to smile.

When my daughter reached the age where she sensed my moods, I always made an effort to at least appear in good spirits when she awoke each morning. It wasn’t always easy. My husband and I were dealing with many stresses back then, some unavoidable, some self-imposed. There were mornings I woke feeling down and mornings I woke feeling angry and, like any Mom with a young child, mornings I felt just plain tired. But she always awoke with a smile, looking forward to the gift of a new day, so I forced a smile as well, and it stuck.

Too soon, my daughter reached that age where she saw my morning smile as a barb placed deliberately under her skin. Her moods were still infectious, only the other way around. Happily, we also had a dog. A very sensitive dog from a broken home that reacted to the slightest discord with fear of another banishment. As my teenager rolled her eyes and emitted groans, I ran on to the pooch in high pitched tones, rallying her spirits and, in turn, my own.

On the now rare occasions when my husband and I have words or see fit to punish each other with stone-faced silence, the dog will come up and shove her nose in the face of one, then the other of us. Looking directly into our eyes, her look says, come on, guys, you know you really love each other. How can we not smile? How can we stay angry?

Smiles are funny that way. Once there, they tend to stick around.


Kathryn Magendie said...

Whenever my hb yells at the television during a football game, our dogs get upset - like, "whats wrong? Is it us? are we in trouble?"


Barbara Quinn said...

Well, I'm smiling now so thanks for that. It's so true that smiles can make a difference. Have you ever noticed that when you're smiling people smile back at you? It's infectious!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Here's to kids and pets...not necessarily in that order some days. ha

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