If you’ve ever doubted the powerful effect of a child’s smile, please read on. I first learned of this very potent “medicine” shortly after returning to work following the birth of my oldest daughter. As I’m sure many of you can relate, a crappy day at the office can put you in a rotten mood and lead to a miserable evening…except that if you have a little miracle of a being just thrilled to see you at the end of your work day, you are quickly distracted and before too long have forgotten all about any problems that were lingering in your head. I cannot tell you how many times that I have had a bad day only to be turned around by a beautiful smile from one of my daughters.
I later learned that my children can have this almighty healing effect on the mood of others who love them dearly. About 16 months ago, my aunt who I was very close with, was diagnosed with lung cancer and life as me and my family knew it came to a sudden halt. I can remember thinking that nothing will ever be the same and that even if by some miracle my aunt were to make it through this, that ugly word -CANCER- would always be in the back of our minds, lurking. With the help of my girls and my cousin’s sweet little daughter, Kiki, everyone seemed to be okay. We would get together and laugh with the girls and my aunt would glow in their presence even when I now know that she must have been feeling awful physically. She loved those girls and seeing them smile mended her spirit and helped comfort her loved ones who were watching her fight for her life in fear.
About a month ago, when the time came to say goodbye to my aunt, it was unthinkably awful. My heart ached for my uncle, my cousins, my mother and my grandmother and it still does. I was told that having the girls around helped so we spent almost a week at my mom’s house visiting with family and trying to soothe everyone’s feelings of grief as best we could.
Living life with my girls has taught me that hearing children laugh and seeing them enjoy the simplicities of life is magical and its power should not be underestimated. Obviously, the agony of losing a family member is not something that can be healed but a smile from a child can help ease the pain and serve as a band-aid for the soul. And now when I see one of my girls smile, I remember how my aunt would light up when she was with them and I can’t help but feel a little better.
For you M.B. with love.