A smile. Eyes locked in a deep stare. A hug. A kiss. A tear. A wave good bye.
These are moments we all have experience at some point or another. From the time we are born we have been exposed to these very basic, somewhat natural reflexes we often take for granted. Yet somehow they leave a deep scar, at times painful, yet unforgettable.
How many times we as kids smiled at our parents? I know I did. I smiled my smile of very crooked teeth (and that is not counting the many years I lived toothless- don't ask!) when dad and I had played movie trivia and I got all the answers right! Meaningless and worthless classic Hollywood trivia, anyone? At 10, I was an expert and pops was proud! Smile. When mama spoiled me with the microwave pizza I craved for, while knowing very well I was growing side ways. Oops. Pizza, it's an emotional trigger any day! Smile. A Hello Kitty pencil case, pencil sharpener and a eraser. So cute. Mama knew what made me smile.
When I seriously discovered books, I read Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella ---What, disappointed? No, my first favorite novel was not Anne of Green Gables, or Little Women, although I own both of them, and more. Heidi, Black Beauty, you name it. All the classics. However, the first novel I fully recollect devouring and thoroughly enjoying was Shoeless Joe. Hello love affair with baseball!
Now, books make me smile. My son, now 10 and already a ferocious reader, asked for To Kill A Mockingbird for Christmas- if you follow this blog you know why, if you don't know why, follow this blog. ;) Smile.
I now sit here, 3 days before we get on a plane and fly home to San Juan for a fun, family-filled Navidad, and smile. The day will start early, typical if I have anything to do with planning a trip. A small cup of stress, sprinkled with a dash of anxiety with added excitement as garnish! Bring it. Huge smile, for we will be home with dad, kid, brother, aunts, cousins, uncles, even grandma. It won't get better than that.
When eyes lock in a deep stare is like a door opens and you can almost see inside a person's soul. I love that feeling. It has meant a lot to experience it and I a blessed for having shared that moment with another person. Like two people sharing this little secret, sweet and saved only for them. Locked eyes in a deep stare with a person you love. Heavenly. With your kids because you love them that much. With your best friend after a tough, perhaps painful conversation where hurtful words were exchanged, but friendship prevails and now is stronger. With your parents when you realize you love each other in spite of growing up, growing old, because that love is more powerful than any petty disagreement from the past. Sometimes you don't want to look away. You can't, you won't, but you must. That's OK. Smile. You just shared a unique moment. Smile because it happened.
I am a hugger. I am Puerto Rican, can't help it. Although, Lord, living in Ohio I have had to miserably restrain myself. OK, as long as I can hug the life out of my kid, I get my fix. Living in a culture where physical emotions and expressions are often at arms length, I will argue on the need and positive influence a hug can have. A hug can show support when we are feeling weak in the knees. Hugs can be strength and courage when we are afraid and weary. Hugs congratulate us on special occasions. When the high five or the fist pump are not enough, give a hug. I guarantee you it will have a better, more meaningful affect. Give a hug, get a hug. It will make a difference.
A kiss on the cheek, on the lips, on the hand, on the forehead. A sweeter, lovelier expression of affection there is none. A kiss from the person you love. Smile. A kiss from the child you are watching grow up, even a sloppy one, is welcome with unconditional love. There is no agenda, there is no question. It's love. A kiss on the hand, on the forehead, from your dad, uncle or grandpa. A simple gesture or affection. No agenda, no expectation. Just love.
Many tears are shed by many. Some days more tears are shed then others. Tears are cleansing. Tears are painful. Tears leave this fine line, like a path on the road, that leads down your cheek, down your face. You can see them. They are real. Tears are signs of weakness for some, but represent strength and perseverance to others. Tears are indeed cleansing, for when tears are done streaming down your face and you wipe them off, clarity kicks in. Tears remind you of the lessons you might not have signed up for, yet aced. Tears are OK sometimes.
A wave goodbye, like I have written about before, is part of daily routines. You wave when you greet, when you part. Ciao, bye, see you later. A wave goodbye may be the last one directed at a certain somebody. A wave goodbye means you and a person, or a group, or a congregation, shared a moment, a conversation, a service, a meal, a movie, a wine tasting. You shared time together, but now you part. We may say the time and experience is more valuable than that wave goodbye. Sure, no argument there. However, the wave goodbye often comes with that last hug, a last deep stare among two people, some times that last kiss, that last tear and that last smile.
As we continue to hear about distress and tragedy in our communities, let's not forget those very things we often forget with haste. Let's not forget those little details, gestures and beautifully simple moments we share with those in our lives... Savor the smile, the deep stare in each other's eyes, the hug, the kiss, the tear and the wave. Life is for living... every minute of it.