A smile!

I did it. I coaxed a smile out of my youngest grandchild Daniel today. I wasn’t the first to do that, but it was the first time for me.

As I reflect on that, I think it’s pretty amazing. I’m not absolutely certain, but I think smiling is an acquired skill. While we’re born with the muscles to smile, we have to learn how to get the corners of our mouths to turn upwards. And we do! At some point our eyes begin to focus on the face in front of us, a face that is smiling at us, and we imitate them as best we can and just like that, we’re smiling!

I enjoy making people smile. Sometimes it’s easy. All I have to do is look at my youngest daughter and she not only smiles but breaks into laughter. Other folks are harder. Some who hear my sermons, which usually include at least one humorous line or story, will not crack a smile.

What is it that makes me smile? There’s the usual — a funny story, certain bodily sounds, a silly face, puppies, finishing up a task, a package at the door, a check in the mail, a clever idea that pops into my head, finding some money in a pants pocket. When someone smiles at me, it’s hard to not smile back.

me and danielAnd of course, a baby. Even before they learn to smile, they make us smile. And then they learn how to smile from us. Isn’t that amazing.

Just thinking about that makes me smile.

 

Soda explosion? No thanks.

7114275_f520I had a bonus day with my grandson Elijah yesterday. His mom wasn’t feeling well, so he spent the day and night at our house while she got some rest.

The first thing on our agenda: pick up a prescription for mom, along something for her to drink. That doesn’t sound too hard. When we arrived at CVS, we first grabbed some soda and some Gatorade, then made our way back to the pharmacy counter. Determined to be the world’s best two-and-a-half-year-old helper, Elijah insisted on carrying one of the drinks. First the Gatorade. Then the soda. Then the Gatorade. Then the soda. Repeat and repeat and repeat.

There was only one person ahead of us in line at the pickup, but they certainly weren’t in any hurry. My assistant waited with me as patiently as he could, which meant bouncing in place until it was our turn. As I spoke to the tech at the cash register, I heard a man chuckling as he sat and waited off to the side. He enjoyed watching Elijah shake the bottle of soda up and down, occasionally dropping it and chasing it across the floor before picking it up again.

Well, the prescription wasn’t even ready. So first things first. We’re definitely not taking  that soda back home to mom. Back into the cooler it goes. Is that bad? Not for me. No soda explosions on my to-do list.

The store wasn’t big enough to contain Elijah’s energy, so we touched every candy bar in from of the checkout, bought our drink, and got out of there to grab some lunch. We had a lot more fun stuffing fries into our mouths at McDonald’s than we would have had galloping through the aisles in CVS. When we were done, we opted for the drive-through prescription pickup, and we were on our way home.

Yeah, pretty much anywhere we go together is an adventure!

Toddlers, tortellini, and toys

The other night, I go to hang out with all three of my grandkids for a few hours. Their parents headed out to see the lights in St. Augustine, my wife had a meeting, and they wondered, “Can you watch them for a few hours?” Without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, “Yes!” I don’t get that kind of opportunity very often.

At ages one, two, and three, they really don’t play together. For the first half-an-hour or so, each wanted to play with what another had, but eventually they settled down with their own. After a bit, time for some music. I got out my guitar to sing songs, but no one really wanted to sing with me. Instead, they wanted to run laps around the living room, chasing or running from me as I played. Then it’s time for food.

IMG_8147Tortellini (with “dip”), strawberries and green beans were a hit, everyone wanting seconds. Once supper is over, a few episodes of Paw Patrol kept them quiet for a moment as I cleaned up supper.

My wife was the first adult human to return home, amused and perhaps a bit dismayed at the number of toys strewn around the house. Cars, pretend food, zoo animals, farm animals, action figures, balls, flashlights, a doll house, trains, pretend ice cream cones, kid-friendly power tools, books, lab coats and medical equipment, dinosaurs and a pretend Keurig are all needed to keep everyone busy for a while. Yep, we used them all! (Side note: it doesn’t take three to get and leave out all the toys. One can do the job just as well!)

As a grandparent, I relish these moments not only because they are fun and fill me with joy, but because I know they are rare. As a parent, you feel like you’ve got a lot of time to spend with your kids as eighteen-plus years stretches out in front of you. But as a grandparent, you know those years will fly, so you savor those moments when you have them.