Smiles Make a Difference

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

What Sunshine is to Flowers,
Smiles are to Humanity.
~Joseph Addison
Today was Mother’s Day. A beautiful time to remember Moms everywhere. It was a sad day for some who were missing a mom gone on before them. I still have my mother, but she’s not the mother I’ve known all my life. Dementia has stolen her memories and joy in living. It’s hard for her to get up and down. Hard for her to walk. Hard for her to understand the confusing world she now lives in where people tell her she’s at home when she knows she’s not. She wants the homes of old, not this one where she’s lived for thirty years but now can’t remember where the bathroom is. 
My mother always enjoyed life. Whatever life threw at her, she managed to keep smiling and doing whatever needed to be done. The smiles are harder to come by now, but they can make such a difference in her day. To her and even more to me.
Nobody needs a smile so much as the one who has none to give. So get used to smiling heart-warming smiles, and you will spread sunshine in a sometimes dreary world. – Lawrence G. Lovasik  
Mom has gotten a lot worse the last few months. She’s often unhappy, often agitated, often wishing to go home to see her mother who has been gone for almost forty years. The other day when Mom was having an unhappy time, my sister asked her how old she was and she said, “Sixteen.” Well, no wonder she thinks her mother will be upset if she stays out all night. It’s no wonder she looks at her hands and rubs and rubs them thinking they are “dirty.” Those age spots and wrinkled skin are not supposed to be there. And no wonder she doesn’t know me some of the time. She didn’t have children when she was sixteen.
She doesn’t always think she’s sixteen. She jumps around to lots of different ages, but very rarely thinks about being ninety-three. Sometimes she wonders why her husband never comes home. Sometimes she worries about the children. She needs to be taking care of them. If I tell her I am her daughter, Ann, she will look at me as though that’s the craziest thing she can imagine or perhaps say she means that “other Ann,” the younger one.
Then there are times when she does know who I am, and we can find reasons to smile. Like getting our hair curled. Like watching America’s Funniest Home Videos, one of the few TV shows that she’ll watch. She likes the little children on there. Sometimes, we can watch Curious George because they have clips of kids doing things. And she’ll watch golf. Not sure why except that Daddy used to like to watch golf.
So we take it day by day. At times, five minutes at a time in hopes that the next five minutes will be better. And we try to squeeze in a few smiles now and again.
  “The happiness of life is made up of
minute fractions — the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a
kind look or heartfelt compliment.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Did you share some smiles with your mother today – in life or maybe in your memory? Smiles don’t have to be hoarded away. The more we give away, the more we get in return.