What Makes You Smile?


It happened at lunch on Sunday. My A-ha! Moment. The boys had asked to pull questions from the Question Jar. It’s this thing we do. Sometimes they roll their eyes when I bring the jar to the table, but I know they really love it. We draw a question from the jar, and everyone gets to answer it. The questions stimulate conversation; but most importantly, the Question Jar brings some order to a table full of talkative children. If we’re answering questions from the jar, then they aren’t as likely to bicker about how much salt a brother is dumping onto his food or who saw the cool Ninjago Lego set first, thus who deserves it for a birthday gift. They’re less likely to burp or fart or talk about burping or farting. They’re less likely to nitpick each other’s every word and action if we’re answering questions from the Question Jar.

This is why the Question Jar is one of my favorite things ever.

Anyway. Back to my A-ha! Moment.

The question was, What makes you smile? 

Without a moment’s hesitation, my 12-year-old, Caleb, pointed to his daddy and me. You. When you are happy. When you are smiling, I smile. 

He did not say new LEGOS, his Lakers jersey, the Air Jordans he longs for. Though I know those things do (or would) make him smile. He did not say diving lessons or climbing trees. Though I know those things also sometimes make him smile. He definitely did not say a tidy house, neatly folded laundry, spotless counters. I’m pretty sure he barely notices those things.

He said he smiles when I am smiling. When I am happy, it makes him happy.

Fellow Mommas, I know we sometimes stress ourselves out over the house, the laundry, the counters. Sometimes, we fret over not being able to afford the Air Jordans or trying to make sure our kids keep up with the latest whatever every other kid has. We spend a lot of time driving to and from lessons and activities to develop their interests. And some of this is good.

But sometimes, I think I stress myself out worrying about doing this and that and trying to buy this and that or enroll them in this or that so that my kids will be happy, so they will smile. And all they really want is a momma who is not stressed, a momma who relaxes and enjoys them. What my kids really want is MEhaving fun, smiling, laughing, being with them. 

As Gru in Despicable Me would say, Liiightbuulb! 

My A-ha! Moment.

Parents, let’s make our kids smile today. Let’s relax and enjoy them. Let’s smile with them.

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