Looking over my writing history for 2018, I realized I have not written a 6 Reasons to Smile post since February of this year and my post was about January. Doesn’t that seem like a lifetime and 40 million news cycles since then? Does that mean I didn’t smile at all this year? Quite the contrary! I know I smiled a lot because I traveled a great deal to places I wanted to see again or for the first time. A quick calculation has me at nearly 35,000 miles for 2018 and I’m not done yet!
My 6 reasons to smile for August are varied and some may make you wonder why I would smile in the face of a serious illness of a friend. I suppose the short answer would be that I saw for myself that this friend was loved. Love should make anyone smile.
Unfortunately, not all events have corresponding photos and I apologize for that. There are times when the object of my smile doesn’t want a photo or the situation doesn’t warrant one. Either way, here we go…
Six Reasons to Smile August 2018
- Allison’s buffet dinner for her brother is one of those instances I mentioned where a photo was not taken. Allison hosted a dinner for her brother and his partner who visited from Tennessee. Jonathan has Stage 4 colon cancer and had just been given the news a few days prior that his tumors had grown despite aggressive chemotherapy. What made me smile through the sadness was seeing all the friends and family who showed up to celebrate a belated 39th birthday party. Yes, Jonathan just turned 39. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer at 38 1/2. Most people made it through the party without making the focus of the visit his cancer, his treatment plan, or the likely outcome. That’s not to say that it wasn’t discussed, it just wasn’t the focus.
Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think. ~Chinese Proverb
- Brody’s birthday was another reason to let all the pearly whites come out to play. Brody was my oldest daughter’s first dog she brought home and adopted on her own. She’d always wanted a dog but I was against getting anything more labor intensive than a cat. I knew that I would end up doing the brunt of the work for a dog and I wasn’t wrong. I caved nearly nine years ago and we ended up with Pearl (best dog ever) and that was a good thing. Fortunately, Devon adopting Brody has been another good thing. Devon adopted Brody on January 16, 2015 on Sam’s birthday. Sam thought Brody was her birthday present. Whoops! Anyway, long story short, Devon moved out of state and I (surprise, surprise) have custody of Brody. The girls constantly laugh at me because I didn’t want him but now treat him like he’s the son I always wanted. Madison has discovered a birthday cake recipe every dog I have ever given it to loves. I will provide the recipe in another post.
- My daughter, Madison, decided to take a semester off from school, and although that wasn’t the best news, it wasn’t the worst. I decided that we should all still go to Chicago anyway since I had already bought the plane tickets and secured the hotel room. American Airlines is great for direct flights for cheap prices, but God forbid your travel plans change! The fee for changing four tickets would have been $800. What a waste of money. We’d always wanted to see Chicago and all it offered so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go visit without any crazy schedule to adhere to. We did so much sightseeing while there. I think we walked 5-10 miles every day and did things we don’t normally do like take boat tours, and leave the hotel room at 9:30 p.m. to walk very far on a hot, sticky night to see fireworks. Our family can be somewhat lazy especially if we’ve been out and about all day, but I insisted we go see the fireworks since we had not seen any on Independence Day.
- Part of the reason I wanted to go to Chicago despite not dropping a daughter off at school was to see my oldest daughter. She moved to Indiana back at the beginning of May and three months is the longest I have been away from my girl. She lives about a three hour drive to Chicago and she made the trip. I don’t think I’ve smiled that big in a while!
- My youngest daughter started her senior year of high school in August. I know she is excited to get through this year and start on her true passion in college: linguistics. She has listened to her older sisters and their friends talk about how excited they are about finally learning about the things they want to learn, and not being forced to learn what a school district deems important. Sam’s focus is on getting into a college on the East Coast and I can’t wait for the day she’s accepted. Sam doesn’t like having her photo taken so here’s another instance where a picture is not included in the paragraph.
- Loneliness has been a constant companion for me this year. People I thought liked me don’t actually care for me. I’ve spent a fair amount of time alone for months on end. Initially, that made me sad and it turned me into a hermit of sorts but I think I’ve worked through the sadness, stumbled through the anger, and now I’m not only at acceptance but I’m grateful I no longer have to pretend to be someone I’m not in front of those particular people. If I wasn’t good enough for them, it’s better to learn this lesson now than be disappointed at an even later date.
Here’s hoping you and I have even more reasons to smile in September. What did you smile about in August? Stop what you’re doing, go to the photos you took in August and see all you have to be grateful for.