Things Making Me Smile

I love those moments where I realize I’ve started smiling – either in the middle of a happy moment or when I’m caught up in the memory of some event or person. It’s easy to forget the little things that cause random – genuine! – smiles and I wanted to bring them more fully into my consciousness by naming them.

In no particular order, here are some things that have made me smile lately:

  • While we were visiting my sister in South Carolina, several of my nieces routinely labeled people or events with the phrase Bless or Love, often accompanied by hilarious hand or facial gestures. Levi up on John’s shoulders on a hike? One look at this scene and someone would pipe up (in their delightful Southern accent): Love. If Abby opened the door while someone was carrying a load of groceries? Bless. I now catch myself using these one-word labels…and it makes me happy. A few weeks I sent an (objectively adorable) picture of my kids to this Southern family of mine and guess what they texted back – Love.
  • My Mom using emojis. I’ve written before about how she sends daily texts to our family iMessage group (the term “text” is underselling things as they are literally hundreds of words long). Lately I’ve been making note of when she uses emojis, because it strikes me as both endearing and hilarious coming from my decidedly non-techy mother.
  • This post about dressing joyfully over at The Aesthetics of Joy. Her clothes just look so…happy.
  • Hearing the kids laugh from afar (especially after they’re in bed and John heads in to chat with them which = tickles and hijinks). There is something extra fun about hearing the giggles but not seeing their faces. The undertones of the belly laughs say it all: I’m living my best life.
  • Snuggling my best friend’s toddler. He’s so content to be picked up and will nestle right into my shoulder. And how he calls me “Biff”. And how whenever he sees me he starts looking for John. Basically, toddlers are just great at making people smile.
  • Cherry cheesecake. Walking in the door to the strains of Happy Birthday and seeing my favourite dessert on the counter = smiles. Every delicious bite of this birthday treat = mega smiles.
  • Seeing the kids sleep. A few weeks ago I went in to kiss Levi goodnight after he was asleep (even if going back to read what I wrote about this near-daily ritual hurt my heart because he looks so. much. older. now), and if I squinted just right he still looked like a toddler. He’s not, of course, but watching the kids sleep always, always, always makes me smile, maybe in part because I know the bittersweet truth that this too shall pass.
  • Looking at pictures from our recent road trip. (Lots more posts on this to follow. Toronto! Niagara Falls! New York City!) The whole experience was…a roller coaster. Some amazing highs and some extreme lows (I may have ugly cried twice). But, looking back, there were a lot of special moments and I’m so glad we have pictures to help us remember the details – big and small, happy and frustrating – of this big family adventure. The photo below, captured at the end of a magical evening spent on a rooftop in downtown Manhatten, definitely makes me smile!
  • Opening my e-mail yesterday to discover a lovely note from a niece. She was just checking in and telling me how much she misses the family/wants to visit us in Canada (come anytime!). She also told me her morning routine now involves checking this blog. Hi Laura! Bless. Love.
  • This very moment – seconds before I hit Publish? It’s 1 am AST (I’m still on Eastern time), and it’s the first time in two weeks I feel like I have true solitude. It’s raining and there’s a steady patter of drops on the skylight and metal roof of my parents’ home. Lightning is flashing through the skylight in beautiful bursts and everyone else is asleep (read: blissfully quiet). Smile.

Your turn. What’s making you smile today, this week, month, or year?

Header photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash

15 thoughts on “Things Making Me Smile”

  1. I will read posts like this all day long. I absolutely love the consciously recognising these moments, big and small. Also, I can picture you so clearly enjoying your rainy 1am solitude – how perfect!

    1. I’m going to post about “demerits” soon and staying up too late is my biggest “demerit” of the last month, but it was so worth it to enjoy the quiet!!!

  2. This is such a happy list! And that picture of you guys is STUNNING! What a beautiful family and view.

    What’s making me smile lately: summer thunderstorms (there’s not much to love about Florida in the summer, but the daily storms are one of them), coffee in my Niagara Falls mug, and long weekends. 🙂

    1. Thanks! That picture really does make me smile. That evening on the rooftop was one of the best memories of our trip.
      Coffee in a vacation mug = pure delight.
      And happy 4th of July weekend.

  3. Love! 🤣😘

    “Said” niece was most pleased to be mentioned & so I had to stop what I was doing to read this post.

    1. Ha! Said niece is pretty swell (as are all the other ones), and your kiddos definitely make us smile (and laugh/guffaw/chuckle/chortle, etc).

  4. Ooh! I CAN’T WAIT to read the posts about your trip! i’ll bet it was amazing (although I admit i’m also curious to hear about the lows.)
    I love The Aesthetics of Joy but haven’t read that post yet- I’m heading over there next- thanks for reminding me!

    1. It had so many great moments – but felt downright exhausting and unpleasant at other times! I think that’s par for the course when “vacationing” with kids? This is our first big trip like this since Levi was born!
      And yes – The Aesthetics of Joy is such a happy site 😀

  5. OMG you were up so late!! Even with being on EST, which is 1 hour behind AST I think? I’m tired just thinking about being up until 12-1! But what a fun list! I love that your friend’s toddler lets you snuggle with him! Will is a stage 4 clinger and really only wants to be held by mom or dad, or his care providers at school. This breaks my mom’s heart. My sister was home for 5 weeks and her daughter, who is about 3 months younger, has zero stranger danger and will go to anyone, so Will’s clinginess especially stands out compared to her. He’s 19 months so I don’t know when he will outgrow this? He’s been like this for a good year+ as my mom couldn’t hold him last summer either. 🙁 But on the positive side, his snuggles are very heart-warming. He nestles his head onto my shoulder and will reach for me when he’s in his high chair. I think he’d like to be a little kangaroo in a pouch attached me to me if that was an option!

    1. I’m just sitting down to write a post about recent demerits and staying up late is the big one from the last month.

      Levi was always pretty clingy; Abby had less stranger danger. Every kid is different and each personality has unique advantages! I have to admit I am amazed how willing this toddler is to have me hold him – neither of my kids were that cuddly with others. But I’ll take it!! It’s hard to beat those soft toddler snuggles and my own kids don’t fit into my lap (comfortably!) anymore.

  6. I am reading this a month “late” and it seems so fitting because I had so many of these “subconscious smile” moments recently and didn’t realize it until you described it in your opening paragraph.

    As you know, I was away for a month while my family was visiting from Germany and I caught myself so many times smiling randomly throughout the day just because I was so aware of the happy moment I was in. We should really acknowledge and savor these moments more often!!

    1. Yay! I’m beyond delighted you had such a great time with your family. After so much time apart because of the pandemic, it’s just wonderful you’ve been able to get back to Germany and they’ve made it to the US. And I’m sure there have been so many reasons to smile while together!!

  7. I’m also SUPER late to the party, as per usual, but oh, I love this. Reminding myself to be IN the moment, not analyzing the moment, or wishing it were different. I am about to finish a weeklong vacation with my family and I’m already treasuring the smiles… and missing them. I’m so glad you are doing the same. What a wonderful lesson and reminder for all of us. <3

    1. I fail at this all the time, but I love the moments where I’m not even aware I’m enjoying them (maybe that alone is part of the joy of the moment)!
      I hope you continue to enjoy a fabulous time with your family ❤️

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