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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray...

My children always make me smile!
I am reminded of the song that my late father was always are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray... It is a gray day but oh that rain is so needed and it always serves to make home all the more cozy! I want to send a warm thank you to special blogging friends, Penny and Mary! Both recently gave me another "You Make Me Smile" award. I can never express enough how humble these awards make me. If anything I ever post makes any of you smile then I am completely enriched by your very grin! I was recently asked if I WAS always smiling. Well, of course not! Still, and perhaps it is my, ahem, advancing age but I have come to realize that something to smile about can ALWAYS be found. Even in the murky midst of pain and fear. 6 years ago my father suffered a horrible stroke, one that would eventually take his life. I immediately went to TN to be with my folks. My father was in the University of Tennessee hospital, a bit over an hour from my parent's home. Each day, for 6 weeks, I drove both my mom and myself there and back. We would spend each day talking as we drove, visiting with family and friends in the ICU waiting area, deciding what to eat that afternoon and evening...okay. I know this sounds funny doesn't it? But you do find yourself looking for things to enjoy, something to find comfort in. The hospital had a kickin' cafeteria. Truly! There were also area restaurants who took turns serving up their fare to the doctors, families and even some patients. It was there that I met Andi Edmonds. Andi is a writer in Los Angeles. She was, at that time, a news writer who had taken leave to be with her parents. Her mom and dad, while on a Smoky Mountain vacation, had been in a horrendous car accident. Sadly, her father died but we stood watch over her mom just as we did over my father. She and I bonded over "I Love Lucy" reruns. Uh huh. She noticed that I could mouth every bit of the dialogue and decided we HAD to get to know one another. Mom and I took Andi a huge care package the next day, things we thought would be a comfort to her, and a sweet, enduring friendship was born. Her son, who was 5 at the time, flew in and spent the remaining weeks with her and, yes. I came to adore him. We took this little guy to get his Halloween costume, we made runs out to Sonic for onion rings and Cherry Limeades, we even popped out to a movie occasionally. Oh, here is a recommendation...if you are trying to cheer yourself up, "American Beauty" may not be the movie to see! But I digress... Andi's son went trick or treating at the hospital along with countless numbers of staff dressed in various forms of silly attire. We hugged lots of family members who, like us, were there keeping watch over a loved one. Like soldiers in wartime, we bonded over our shared fears. I really do not know why this all hit me today and what, if anything, this has to do with a sweet "You Make me Smile" award. Except for was during that time of fear, when I knew I might well lose my father, while I worried over my mother's health, as I was painfully missing my husband and son (who drove over every 3 weeks, as did my brother and sis in law, to be with us) that I found so many precious things which made me smile. There is always something sweet to be discovered if you allow yourself to look for it. It is, I believe, part of our nature as human beings to need that smile, that laugh, that giggle, when you least expect to find one. It is life re-affirming. It is necessary. Hundreds of studies have been made on the health benefits of smiling and laughter. I think that some comedians should receive an MD based on their laugh inducing skills alone! I never thought for one moment that smiling or laughing was in any way an insult to my father or his condition. As a parent, I have already instructed my son to look for those smiles if he ever finds himself in the same position. Smiling and laughing are gifts from God. Happiness is often elusive but it IS there, perhaps not in the places you wanted it to be, but you will stumble upon it if you look hard enough. So, smile today. Smile tomorrow. Just try it...even if you have to force yourself. Try flashing your pearly whites at a stranger. I promise it will bless both you and those who receive that pretty grin. I smile each day when I think of all the joy I have received from blogging. I am coming up on my first year anniversary and believe me! I had not clue one where this would lead... I want to thank all of you for each smile, giggle, warm *hug*, your support, your inspiration and your friendship. Now, go out there and smile....go ahead...bigger...BIGGER!! THERE! That's it!


Sheila said...

I can totally identify with this post, as you know my dad was just in hospital. I had taken photos on my digital camera of his dog, and took it with me to show them to him. My sister said "let's take your photo Dad, and you must smile." He had a big teddy bear in bed with him (something I always take people in hospital, something to hug when there are no visitors), and he gave us the most wonderful smile. I will treasure that photo and memory always.
Love you lots

Anonymous said...

Susie Q please come by and get your award.

Mockingbird Hill said...

"You Are My Sunshine" is the special Mommy/Daughter song that my daughter and I share! Your thoughts touched my heart, Susie..made me smile ;).

Come on over...Alaska pix are up!

PAT said...

Sue that's the song Michelle sings the babies to sleep,with!

I know what you mean...thanks so much for a great post!


Rosie's Whimsy said...

A great post that truly made me smile :-)

Rose Mary said...

Wonderful post. A sincere smile can add so much to a sad heart!

Andi said...

...please don't take my sunshine away!

What a wonderful post Sue. I agree even when we encounter trials in our lives there is always something we can find to smile about. I was told by my Mom to always keep a special story or thought in my mind that would bring a smile to my face and whenever something was going to put me in a sad mood to think of that story or thought. I do and it always brings a smile to my face.

T*mmy said...

My toddler son and I used to sing that little ditty to each other while on the way to pick up his big sis from kindergarten...Happy Memories...thanks!

Valerie said...

amen that.

Meggie said...

Sue: Great post...wonderful words. My friend, Carol, and I have been walking regularly since our retirement..2+years. We say "good morning" to all the people we pass on our 5 mile trip. Even the grouchy ones respond sooner or later. We wear them out with our smiles and greetings. They have no choice but to suck it up and smile back.

Mama P said...

I agree with you 100%. I have been feeling joyful for the first time in a long time, and much of it has to do with my attitude. And exercise. And working again. And, damn, just remembering to be grateful.

I am so blessed by your blog. I love everything about it: the words, the music, the images and the honesty.

Susie said...

That song is one that was often sung in our family too! I loved this post and it's all so true.
Congrats on your :) awards!!
You deserve each and every one my smiley friend!!

Sandi McBride said...

My mother always sang You are my sunshine to us...we went to sleep in self defense, the woman couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. But the song always makes me smile because she didn't know she couldn't sing...would have been a great contestant on American Idol...I have a little something for you over at my place, so stop by and pick it up when you can

Sandi McBride said...

My mother always sang You are my sunshine to us...we went to sleep in self defense, the woman couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. But the song always makes me smile because she didn't know she couldn't sing...would have been a great contestant on American Idol...I have a little something for you over at my place, so stop by and pick it up when you can

justabeachkat said...

I'm smiling Susie Q! You make me smile almost every time I come here. Loved this post and I'm thankful you shared your precious memories with us.


Congrats on your soooo deserve it!

Pamela said...

I know it was difficult to spend that six weeks with a dying parent.
But I want you to know what a blessing you received.

So many of us have not been able to devote that time. Because of family or jobs --etc.

I've always felt that I wasn't there for them -- and I really wanted to be.

Anonymous said...

Smiling can ease so much tension. When my mother was very sick in the hospital we always had to shut her door because we would be laughing. The laughing even came from my mom. She was wonderful. She always found something funny to say to make us laugh. I sure have wonderful memories of her smiling.

Take care,

Melissa said...

Wonderful post Sue! You are right, smiling and laughter are things that we have to do on a daily basis, it's amazing how much better you feel just from smiling.

You Are My Sunshine is one of the songs that I have sung to my daughter since she was a baby. She still loves it when I sing that to her.

I'm glad I met you through blogging, I always come over here and read what you write or look at your photos and enjoy myself. I smiled when I saw the photo of Grace with the leaves....

Terri said...

What an sweet, uplifting story. Thanks for sharing it.

And thanks, too, for stopping by my blog and leaving comments.
I do appreciate it!
God bless.

Mary said...

Dear Sue,
Oh what a beautiful and heartfelt post. Again, you amaze me! My father-in -law was in the hospital from the day after Christmas till the end of February, and we definitely neeeded all the smiles we could get.

Brown English Muffin said...

I haven't been here is so long and just before I came I was researching places to stay in Italy...then I get here and I am presented with your beautiful banner graphic and it screams Europe and once again I want to get to Italy!! I love the banner, love it, but even more i love this pic of Grace...fall really has come hasn't it!

Brenda said...

That is funny Susie Q. As I rocked my grandbaby Jayden to sleep lastnight I sang that song. It is one of the first songs we learned growing up.

the feathered nest said...

This was a really wonderful post! I love everything about your blog. I can't imagine why it took me so long to find it!

Sometimes attitude is everything. I guess something in me clicked when I turned 50 and I had a major attitude adjustment and can't tell you how much happier and joyful I am now. I always smile at people and sometimes I'm amazed at the response I get. I guess it's unusual or something LOL!


Alice said...

I try to smile at people a lot. It is strange to me how it sometimes gets a bad reaction. This morning I ran out to the store in my old jeans and sweat shirt and I'm pretty sure my hair was combed. I saw a well-dressed woman had finished unloading her bags and with a smile, I offered to return the cart for her. I believe she must have thought I was a bag lady out to steal the shopping cart because she gave a sniff and walked the cart back herself. Now that made me laugh!

Terri and Bob said...

You have the most uncanny way of posting something I really need to hear. THANK YOU.

Sugar Bear said...

I too was raised with the "You Are My Sunshine" song! Your post is so very true. As I get older I've really come to realize the power of positive thinking and always taking away the good from a bad situation. It must have been a difficult 6 weeks for you but one you took many positives from.

Rosemary said...

You always make me smile. You are a great lady. I wish I lived nearby. We could be great friends.
Your post was so touching today.
Love your blog!

JANET said...

"You are My Sunshine" was one of my mother's favorites. She would sing or whistle it as she worked around the house.
You know, as difficult as it is when a loved one is hospitalized, especially intensive care, there are so many others there in the same spot. We have been there, done that too, and I would draw strength from the others to just keep toughing it out. Nice post.

Jafabrit said...

What a beautiful post with such a lovely statement about life.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Susie, I am honored to pass that award onto you!! What a wonderful story. I so enjoy coming here and visiting you. I wish we were neighbors! I fear we could get into alot of hot water together :-)

Anonymous said...

You are my sunshine is an old song I have not heard in years, and reading it here brought back some memories. Thanks for the visit.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Smiling sure gets us through the tough times, that's for sure! and you DO make a lot of us smile so much, Ms. Sue! thanks for being there.


Cheryl Wray said...

You are such a sweetie!!! Your friend Andi just seems like a dear!

I love the photo!!!

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

That was such a gorgeous post! It's so true too-smiles and laughter can get you through the very worst of times! Thank-you for such a wonderful post!x

smilnsigh said...

Precious entry, Susie Q. Thank you. You are oh so right. But we all need to hear it again, now and then.