still smiling

cousinsThis past summer we had a big cousin reunion. About 3 days in, a cousin that I hadn’t spent much time with asked me what my secret was, why I was always smiling.

I never had a chance to answer. A whirlwind of our combined kids moved through the room in a swarm of noise and flailing body parts and the question just kind of sat there. But, I’ve been coming back to it in my head ever since, thinking about what I would have said.

It’s pretty simple: I smile because I know I’m lucky. I grew up lucky. I lucked into meeting and marrying the right person, we lucked out in the kid department, and now we are just moving forward – still lucky.

Our kids and our parents are healthy, we aren’t living paycheck-to-paycheck, we aren’t constantly stuck in traffic, my husband has a reasonable work schedule, and we live in a beautiful place.

My problems are tiny.

So, I smile my way through my social awkwardness. When a funky, energy-sucking depression hits, I still smile. I smile despite the numbers on the scale and my mismatched wardrobe. Ok, that smile might have more self-deprecation involved, but still. Smiling.

I smile while juggling kid’s schedules, making lunches, and forgetting to put library books in backpacks. I smile at the burnt artichokes, the pee on the floor, the permanent pile of unwashed clothes and the random rice in my hair.

I’m keenly aware that these are our salad days.

There’s bound to be a shitstorm somewhere on the horizon that’ll hit – life is a messy, unpredictable thing – when it does, I hope I’ll realize I’m still lucky, and smile.

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