Oh the things that make us smile...
Sometimes it's something as simple as a splash of rain on my nose, or something incredibly hilarious like my ginormous Staffordshire Terrier, King Alfred, falling off the couch while he's sleeping. Other times, it's something so unlikely, such as a bittersweet memory, or a horribly bad experience you look back on and finally see the humor hiding behind your embarrassment. Quite simply, smiles are like people; they come in different shapes and sizes.
Most people can pull a memory from each of these scenarios and find something to smile about. For me, most of my laughter and happy smiley memories come from my children. Those who know me, know I have a butt ton of kids...10, actually. They are my world, and I could not imagine life without them. They range from ages 7-22. And let me tell you, they are all unique in their own right. So, in honor of this month's smiley theme, I would like to share some of my all-time favorite kid memories with you.
Let's start with oldest to youngest.
1) Ahh, that wonderful age of 17. NOT! My son was going through a very argumentative stage where, he felt, that as a 17 year old man with a part time job, he knew all about life. Sound familiar, parents? One day, one such argument ended with a lot of blood of stitches. No...we didn't beat the kid silly. During one of his outbursts, he flailed his arms and ended up putting his hand through the window behind him. It left a nasty gash to his lower arm that required a trip to the local ER.
Why does this bittersweet memory make me smile? Because it was a valuable lesson to my son. He realized that day that sometimes he can be a little overdramatic, and has since learned to stop and think before getting angry. That is a huge accomplishment many adults never reach in their lifetime. While I am not a fan that my son was hurt, I am wowed by his ability to realize action creates a reaction. I smile because I am proud.
2) My second oldest can be the comedian, let me tell you. My favorite memory (which still occurs from time to time) is when he sings to me...in the voice of Prince! HAHA Yup. He hits those squeaky high notes and I can't help but roll over with laughter. He always has a way of picking people up with his silliness, and I can only hope he maintains this quality as he makes his way out into the world.
3) Oh, what can I say about my oldest daughter....she's something else. Creative, vibrant, and so scatterbrained at times. It was three days after her 16th birthday. We were in the car on the way to town to get some groceries when she hits me and her dad with, "So, I was thinking that I need to start focusing on my goals for life." Naturally, we as parents agreed with glee. She continues on to say, "I think I am going to set up a meeting with the guidance counselor and make sure I have the classes I need to help me get into teaching when I graduate. I'm so much more focused now. Remember how I was when I was 15?" Commence laughter... Dad replies, "You mean, three days ago?"
4) LOL I am laughing as I type this because the next in line is...whewie! She has provided us years of comic relief for sure. She is the person who tends to get her words confused, or just totally wrong. My favorite of all time is when we were watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy and the patient had a tumor, who ends up dying. She blurts out at the end, "I hope I never get a tuna because I want to be a cheerleader so I can stand on the top of the period." Yup. That's my baby. In her defense, she was only about 9 or so.
5) That time my son joined the high school wrestling team and lost to a girl! It was my son's freshman year, and he was determined to be the best wrestler on the team. But come the first match, he lost. Not because he was bad. (Nor was the girl! She was actually pretty darn good!) But because he refused to hurt a girl. He was terrified he'd cause her pain, and simply refused to use all his strength. While I realize some of you may conceive this as him thinking he's superior to a female, but I assure you, that is not the case. My son is a gentle giant, nothing more. He truly feared he would hurt the young lady, who was a great deal smaller than he is. Why does this make me smile? Because my son understands true sportsmanship. He never let the loss define him, and never once told her he "let her win". Even when she asked. They became great friends after! I know him enough to know he would do it again.
6) Now 15, my son is the quiet type. Always has been, even as a little man. He tends to shy away from people, especially strangers. Despite my best efforts to help him open up, he simply doesn't like to. Perhaps one day he will, in his own time. In the meantime, I have learned not to push him to do things he doesn't want to...such as taking a picture with the Easter Bunny. I apologize to the parents that fateful day and the hour long cleanup my son's upset stomach created. Now why is this something that makes me smile? No, it's not the obvious look on the people' faces in line who got a poop show. This specific incident showed me who my son was, and made me realize I needed to handle him much more different than I did the others. You might think you know what you're doing by kid number 5, but let me assure you...you don't. I smile because it reminds me that all people, adults and children are different. Besides, being the same would be boring!
7) When my 13 year old was a young lad of about 4, he went through this defensive mode. Why? I have no idea. You couldn't say anything to him without him taking offense. One day, I was standing at the sink doing dishes and he was hovering. I assumed he was thirsty and asked, "Do you want some water?" He crinkles up his little nose and narrows his eyes and says, "No, you water!" Then stomps away. That's it. I guess he told me.
8 and 9) Yup. TWINS! Two of a kind. One boy, one girl. Born 14 minutes apart with the boy being first, they have a unique bond. Sadly, my son has a speech disorder that impairs his ability to communicate with others. Except his sister. After years of speech therapy, he does much better now, but there are times he remains hard to understand. His sister has taken him under her wind, so to speak, and is often found translating. During one of his speech evaluations at school, they wanted to observe him in a natural surrounding without the hindrance of teachers. They brought his twin sister in and recorded the 15 mins of them conversing. It was adorable for sure, and full of code I still can't crack to this day. However, it did allow the school to see his strengths and how he responded to certain tones and sentence structures. Which overall, really did help him progress. Why does this make me smile? Because the recording was just too darn cute, and it made me realize these two will no doubt spend their entire life around one another. There is a comfort in knowing that.
10) Finally, the last one! If you've stuck with me this long, thank you!
What can be said about the baby of the family? Rotten. Spoiled. All around butthead at times. But don't let that fool you. Of all my children, he's the only one to have taken a liking to sciences like his mom. The others all pursued business, legal, and teaching degrees. While my 7 year old is a little young to be picking a college goal just yet, he gets excited about rocks, dinosaurs, and my personal favorite, space! He loves to watch documentaries with me, and never fails to ask all the right questions, which truly makes me smile like a lunatic. He's so curious. I love that about him. I can only hope he maintains such curiosity into adulthood. Who knows? He may one day find a job at NASA!
Now that you've finished reading about my load of children, you might be asking why in the heck is the name of this post Smile...And Say Fuzzy Pickles! It all comes back to my favorite childhood memory.
When I was 12, my parents took me, my sister, and brother to the mall to get our pictures taken with the Easter Bunny. 12 year olds don't take pics with the darn Easter Bunny anymore, right? Well, I thought so, at least. I was determined to make the worst of it, just cuz I could. However, the photographer was having none of it. He positioned us all nicely around the big bunny and told us to all smile. I refused....and then he said, "On the count of 3, say fuzzy pickles!"
What the...the image of a fuzzy pickle was too much to ignore. I burst out laughing, snorting, the whole works. The pictures turned out amazing. And to this day, I still remember yelling FUZZY PICKLES! Sadly though, a flood stole those pictures. But that's okay, cuz the memory lives on in my heart!
I truly hope you've enjoyed my post, and hope it brings a smile to your face, because I too, am smiling right now as I relive these wonderful moments in my head.
Until next time,