Saturday, September 3, 2011

A secret weapon...

September. Time of goals and plans and schedules.
I always think if I can just get the right schedule, it'll change everything.
And it does help.

But if I had to choose one thing,
one single thing that makes the most difference...

it would have to be....

wait for it....


Yup. smiling at my kids

Well because:

A. they almost always smile back (and I'm a sucker for those Bretzke boy smiles)

B. just changes the whole mood (including adjusting my own attitude, seriously it sorta temporarily tricks you into thinking your having fun, until are)

and C. Because often it reconciles and even heals

The absolute best thing I can do in the morning 
(well along with scriptures of course) to ensure a better day is walk into my kids rooms smiling.
Greeting them. Welcoming them to come enjoy a day with me, their favorite, smiling mommy! 
(You're right, the smile doesn't always last, as it is not completely immune to the kryptonite of spills and messes and general energy draining  inevitablilities of mommyhood...but they don't know that!)

Smiling at that chubby baby who screamed for an hour straight?
So healing. So forgiveness inducing.

Smiling at that toddler, with a little glint in your eye that tells, him "I'm onto you little stinker...and under all this trying-to-drive-your-mommy-crazy-ness, is the kid I love more than anything in the world, and I'm smiling at that kid, despite it all and no matter what!"

Even changing a poopy diaper (especially of the kid that really ought to be potty-trained by now, but somehow it just ain't happened yet!) 

Smiling can get that squirmy little poo-monsters attention. 
(I also taught McKye lovely phrases like "Ooooo grooossss!" to narrate his changes/keep his attention, and even how to fake dry heave, hmmm no wonder he doesn't wanna potty-train I made diaper change way too dang fun!)

The all-powerful smile even sometimes will work in the middle of a power struggle with a two year old (I know! I'm suppose to avoid those but, he just suck me in, every time!)
A sly grin at a sullen kid in time out, works magic.
Just melts the hostility, lightens the mood and makes you remember this is not the end of the world.

Because somedays we need to know our kids forgive us, so we can forgive ourselves. And when I've been horrible to my kids (which, sadly, is more often then I'd like)....when McKye looks at me when I've spoken harshly at him and says "Hurt!" and his limited vocaulary description of how my quick temper affects him, rips my mommy heart with shame making me bleed pure contrition...
When I, as the poet Darlene Young (oh she's such a fav of mine!) describes--
...sneak into their rooms at night 
to beg forgiveness from their twitching eyelids 
for the petty strictness of my ways—
In the morning if they can give me a smile, I know it's all alright. That we're okay. 
That it's a new day, with no mistakes yet. 

That simple smile signifies--
Reconciled with just a smile.

Of all the characteristics I think Christ was pointing us to when he said we were to be like little children, I think the greatest was their ability to forgive.
I for one I'm gratful for that quality in my children everyday, and trying to acquire it myself.

Cuz at the end of the day that kinda is family.
"Ya know what, we were kinda horrible to each other today and guess what? 
I still like you a lot.
In fact I love you!"

I love you , with a smile.
Try it.

Right now.

 McKye's smiling tutorial
Sometimes times, you may be a little reluctant to smile...

You may really not feel like it at all...

you may hafta force it a little at first
...just try

It'll come. And it'll feel great!