Some things that make me smile

Emmett and his Papa.

Emmett and his Papa (image credit Rachel Miller)








There are days filled with learning and striving and pushing and working, and they are good days.  And then there are days when you need to pause and give thanks that your life is filled with so many people and things that can make you smile:  people you can love on and hug, who may even love you back and can make your heart feel good again.  Here are a few things that make me smile today:

1.  Here’s our oldest son, Matthew, with his little boy-o Emmett Lee.  My grandson is only six weeks old and he’s got a million dollar smile already!  Can you believe it? Every time I look at this picture, I just melt into a puddle on the floor.  My kids walk right past me, I am so melted and invisible, like a puddle of vanilla ice cream on the countertop.  “Where’s Mom?”   I’m so grateful that God makes babies so adorable that just one look can restore your hope in the future.  God hasn’t given up on us yet, clearly!

Anya and her papa

Anya and her papa on the slide, and our daughter Amalia up top.

2.  Here’s my other little dolly, Anya Genese, with her papa Andrew at the top of a slide. I’m so happy that I got to be there to watch this moment.  She was a bit scared at first up there–it was so high!–but she was in her strong daddy’s arms, and then–then she caught sight of her beloved mama and she took a deep breath and grinned at her and was full of joy and bravery and everything was all right.  That’s what a good mama can give to her children, Gentle Reader.  Doesn’t that smile just melt your heart?

All . . . those . . . skates . . .

All . . . those . . . skates . . .

3.  One evening every month my kids go to a skating rink in Lincoln and enjoy skating with their home school friends.  I don’t think the owners have changed a thing in that rink since the 70s, including their inventory of skates that are available for rental (pictured above).  I start grinning as soon as I step inside–the DJ’s music blaring and the clack-clack-clack of the skates on the floor, and the laughter and high spirits of the kids that are skating is enough to put a smile on anybody’s face–and I grin the entire time I’m there.  It’s a magical place, to transport this middle-aged woman back in time, to my high school days when our church group used to go skating together at a similar rink.  It was all so precious . . . hoping that that special guy would ask you to do the “couple’s skate” with him (actually that any guy would ask you to skate with him, even holding hands and all); trying to win at the limbo; inching along the wall at first and eventually feeling that thrill of skating fast, out in the middle of the floor with the other fast skaters.

Here's my little Mack putting on his red-neck home school kid grin, in front of a rack of ceramic chickens.

Here’s my little Mack putting on his red-neck home school kid grin, in front of a rack of ceramic chickens. (Sheesh.  What a kid.)  “Look Mom–50% off–but why would anybody want these?”

4.  We went to “the city” yesterday (Lincoln), to run some life-or-death errands–that is, to buy Amalia a new pair of shoes for a formal she’s going to next week.  While there, we stopped at our favorite crafts-and-whatnot store, Hobby Lobby.  It was like we’d never left our place in the country:  chickens, chickens, everywhere!  Apparently chickens are hot in decorating, right? Must be.

chickens, chickens, chickens!

These ladies have piercing eyes.

Little Mack was confused by this.  “But what are they for?”  he pestered me for answers.  I pointed out that some people liked to decorate their homes with chickens, kind of like art or something.  “Why would anybody want to decorate with chickens?” he mused.  “They’re farm animals.”

Then he saw the eggs.

"Look, Mom, eggs!  Strange--oh, Mom, they're not real."

“Look, Mom, eggs! Strange–oh, Mom, look, they’re not real.”

EVEN MORE CONFUSING.  Eggs are to eat, right, why put fake ones in a basket for decoration? Tell me, Mom. My son thought this was very amusing.  And very perplexing.  Such a little farm boy.  I always suspected that we live under a rock.  Turns out, it’s true. We live under a rock.

such a little nerd . . .

such a little nerd . . .

(Please don’t notice his dirty shirt, please don’t notice his dirty shirt–)


5.  Little Mack’s two top front teeth have been crazy-loose for some time.  It drives me nuts, the way he lets them hang by a thread and plays with them, especially when I’m sitting at the table, trying to eat dinner.  He won’t let me pull them. All my children have been this way.  They know that I actually enjoy pulling teeth (it’s true!) so they don’t really trust me.  Like perhaps once I’ve pulled the loose ones, I’ll have a go at the perfectly secure ones?  C’mon, kids, I’ve got the pliars!  But anyway, Mack was having lots of fun with his snaggledy tooth, twisting it, flipping it up and down (this, during supper, and he sits next to me) and so forth, laughing, of course, the entire time, glancing at me to see how annoyed I was getting.  Snorting milk out of his nose.  Your kids probably have much better manners than this.  I hope so, anyway.

“Let me pull it—-please?” I asked, in my wheedlingest voice.  “No!  It’ll hurt!”  He recoils from my maniacal gleam and shudders.  I leave him be, although it takes all my self-control to not just wrestle the little bugger to the ground and just yank that dangly little tooth out of his cheeky little mouth. I say this in the nicest possible way.

That night as I tucked him in, I could see that he was still playing with that silly tooth with his tongue. “Look, Mom,” he said in the dimness of the room, “thsee how I can twisth ith!!”

I had a thought and a memory, which I then shared with him.  Straight-faced.

“Did you know that sometimes kids who go to bed with a really loose tooth sometimes actually swallow them during the night?”  I asked him, quite calmly.

This is a true fact, Gentle Reader, not just some lame story I made up to get him to let me pull his silly tooth.  I’m not that kind of mama.  You can probably look it up on your ‘pooter, on that vast encyclopedia website, Wikipedia I think it’s called.

He looked up at me in horror.  “What??!  Pull it, Mom, pull it!”

So I did.  I pulled it.  It popped right out, it was satisfying (sly smile) and the tooth fairy left a golden dollar during the night.  And only one snaggledy tooth left (sigh).  For now.

These are my people.

These are my people.

6.  I love my people.  My nutty, loving, creative, awesome group of family and friends that God has blessed me with.  I’m going to hold them all especially tightly on this day, as I keep in my prayers the poor innocents in Boston and those in Waco, Texas, too.

I hope, Gentle Reader, that you have plenty of folks in your life that you can turn to to hug and to hold and to turn your heart towards on a day filled with sadness for so many.

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43 thoughts on “Some things that make me smile

  1. Nita

    I love the things that make you smile. They made me smile too, and conjured up some memories that added to the smile. Chickens may be popular for decorating, but apparently we aren’t supposed to sew anything with a chicken on it. I’m on a quest to find some chicken fabric, without resorting to going online. One store owner told me, “chickens aren’t popular right now.” Really? I’ve been in Hobby Lobby too, and other craft stores. Maybe fabric is ahead of the game, there was chicken fabric a few years ago, when I didn’t need any. Love your post. Visiting from UBC.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh! My mom made me a quilt a few years back with lots of chicken fabric in it. I could send you some scraps! E-mail me your address if you’d like some!

  2. Melissa Brown, MD

    Ah, once again, I am beguiled by your words, Amy, and found myself smiling throughout your whole post today. I was able to see the pictures of everything that you wrote about and hear the skating rink noises–shared in the fascination of chickens for decorating (what IS that all about??) and felt your angst at wanting to get that snaggeldy tooth out once and for all. (psst…..I have used that same line to gain access to the tooth with my kids and grandkids, too!!) Thanks so much for putting a smile on my face which will return now every time I think about all the stories that you put into your one beautiful post.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks for your sweet words, Melissa, and I’m glad you could hear the clack-clacking of those skates, too. 🙂

  3. Shawn

    I love how little Mack didn’t understand decorating with chickens & fake eggs. I don’t get it either. God is good to give us our people. And I am thankful for mine as well. Prayers go out to those who have experienced tragedy with their people.

  4. Sheri Conaway

    On a day when I have, again, committed myself to finding bliss around every turn, your post is the perfect addition to my day! Your family sounds like a wonderful group who knows how to find the fun in life’s ups and downs.

  5. Eydie Stumpf

    LOL You can tell Little Mack that chickens and roosters in my kitchen make me smile. And for me… that’s good enough reason to decorate my kitchen with them 🙂 I’m not sure men ever understand it – and honestly, I’m not sure I do either. All I know is that my face lights up and my heart skips a beat when I see those colorful ceramic roosters and I want to take them all home with me! 🙂

    Thanks for the smile. Eydie 🙂
    PS: grandkiddos do the same for me -but I DO know why? You’re are adorable.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks Eydie. Guilty secret: I have some ceramic chickens in my house, too. Little Mack doesn’t understand that, but the truth is I snap them up at garage sales and I love them!

  6. Francene Stanley

    I don’t have a group of wonderful people close by. But my husband fits that description all on his own. He does everything that I can’t manage myself. He makes my heart melt with gratitude although he’s not as cute as your grandson. I bet he was once. I’d be devestated if I lost him.

  7. Sonia Rao

    Amy, I doubt anything could be more beautiful than a child’s smile and beautiful things (and people) always make us smile.

    Thank you for sharing the lovely pics and your thoughts with us.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Really, you are too kind with YOUr words. Thank you–you just made my day. I’m always a little self-conscious about my photos, because I use a tiny automatic camera. Thank you.

  8. Chef William

    I always learn something when I read your stories. Today, looking at the first picture. 1t dawned on me that baby’s and old people have double chins. I knew they both wear diapers, and they both need naps, but the chin thing is new information. love his smile.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I’ve noticed lots of similarities between babies and old folks, too: pot bellies, stiff movements, no teeth . . . I guess if we all live long enough, we’ll come full circle! 😉

  9. Wendy Bottrell

    Hi Amy, once again you had me mesmerized with your first picture! What a beautiful baby and truly brought a smile to me face! Really enjoyed learning about your people, family, what they bring to your life and loved the rolling skating as it took me back to the historic rink I skated at here in Toronto in my younger days. What your story did for me this morning is have me slow down, breathe and simply enjoy. Thanks, Wendy PS, glad you had the satisfaction of pulling a tooth! 😉

  10. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    I thought so much about Boston today – too much – that it was good to read your post. By the way, I am one of those “chicken decorators” that your son wonders about – but no baskets full of fake eggs – yet. (maybe I should take some pictures of my chicken decor one day if I don’t have inspiration for a post, and blog about it.)

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