Some people always have a calm look on their face, even if they are not smiling, they somehow manage not to be frowning. Things don’t really work that way for the concentrator…which is what I am. Concentrators tend to have a frown on their face, so people might think they are mad, when in fact, they are not. They might not have even noticed that anyone is looking at them, much less smiling at them. At least not until that person says something to them or writes them a note saying, of all things, “You really should smile!” For the concentrator, there is really no bigger insult. Maybe the person who said it, meant no harm, but if they thought about it, there are much nicer ways to get someone to smile.
In fact, the other day, while I was driving down second street in Casper, Wyoming, I saw a young man walking down the street. It was not a warm day, and the young man was bundled up in a coat and hat, but even with the distinct chill, to put it mildly, the young man has a smile on his face as he walked along. He wasn’t on the phone, or walking with someone else, and he wasn’t talking, so I could see no specific reason for the smile on his face.
I wondered what he was thinking about that would put a smile on his face. It didn’t matter really, because I smiled instinctively, because he was smiling. It didn’t matter what he was smiling about, his smile made me smile. It was sort of like the movie, Pay It Forward, except with smiles. I though about what a nice young man he might be, but whether I was right or not, didn’t make any difference. His smile told a tale all its own. A tale of Smiling it forward. It sounds silly, but that is what that young man did. His smile brought a smile to my face, and perhaps my smile brought a smile to the face of someone else, and so on…smiling it forward.
I’ve never really thought of my Aunt Dixie Richards as being exactly shy, but maybe that’s because I’ve known her all my life. She never seemed shy to me, or to any of the other kids in the family. Nevertheless, when I watched her in an old home movie my parents shot when they got one of those “new fangled” movie cameras, she seemed very shy. Of course, none of the family really wanted to have a home movie taken of them…probably because it was such a new thing, but in watching Aunt Dixie, I saw a bit of shyness on her face. I think that maybe I’m like Aunt Dixie in some ways, because I’m a bit of a shy girl too…until I get to know people.
As one of the younger children in a family of nine children, Aunt Dixie saw her older siblings get married and head off to start families. I’m sure that also gave her the opportunity to babysit her nieces and nephews. In many ways, I think that babysitting the little ones probably prepared her for having children of her own, as well as, babysitting a number of children of nieces and nephews later on. I didn’t know that she babysat so many children. I found that out last year, and I just think that is really awesome. For parents, having a babysitter that you can trust is vital.
Aunt Dixie also has grandchildren now too. She has four grandsons, and one granddaughter. She wasn’t sure she was going to ever get a granddaughter, but the last one was finally a girl. The boys, being a little older, are often off doing their own things, so this summer, Aunt Dixie has spent a lot of time with her granddaughter, Mayme Williams. They have had a lot of fun, and now that school is ready to begin, Aunt Dixie told me that she is feeling pretty sad that her time with Mayme is ending, but at six years old, she has to go to first grade. At least Aunt Dixie will have time with the kids after school, and that always makes her feel better. Today is Aunt Dixie’s 74th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Dixie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I love looking at the pictures my family posts…especially the kids. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s true, but sometimes it’s the caption that really grabs me. Such was the case the other day when I looked at this picture posted by my cousin, Grace Oltman. The picture shows the smiling faces of her son, Hosea and her sister, Angel Pallas’ daughter, Hazel. These kids never cease to amaze me, because they are just being kids, after all. Grace captioned the picture with, “They will do anything for some candy.” That immediately took me back to the years when my grandchildren were little ones, and we tried so hard, sometimes in vain to get a good picture of the four of them.
As the grandma, it was my idea to do the four of them, and sometimes I think my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, thought I was crazy. In fact, sometimes I thought I was crazy. We tried everything to get them to all four smile at the same time…and I mean we tried everything, including candy, if they cooperated. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Now, looking at the pictures Grace took…which turned out amazing, by the way, I see what my problem was. She gave them the candy while they had the picture taken. What kid wouldn’t smile with a piece of chocolate in their hand? Oh, if I had only known. Of course, these little kids, Hazel, Hosea, Tenley, and Canaan, as well as cousins, Addilayde and Meadow, are definitely not strangers to the camera. Their parents take lots of pictures of them, and these kids know how to smile for the camera. I think that is why I enjoy looking at all their pictures so much. There is just nothing sweeter than looking at a smiling child…even if it is a candy smile, and even if the candy, cake, or whatever else they may enjoy having, is all over their face.
Every once in a while, however, even mom’s who take great pictures because the kids are so cooperative, will hit a bit of a snag. Such was the case when Grace took the picture of little Hosea and his little brother Canaan. Hosea was wearing his usual great smile, but Canaan needed a little help. Uh…Grace, I think you forgot the chocolate on this one, but then I guess Canaan was a teeny bit to small for that. Nevertheless, those sad face pictures can be just as cute as the ones that are all smiles. In the end, I had to promise to let my grandkids, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen, do one goofy picture in order to get good smiles out of them. I guess that the moral of the story is…whatever works.
A while back, I wrote a funny little story about my oldest daughter, Corrie Petersen’s early attempts at wearing makeup. Since she was about three at the time, I can imagine you already know just how skillfully her makeup was applied that day. Most little girls are that way though. Their first makeup attempts usually come from sneaking into mommy’s makeup and usually, making a real mess of it, and of their face. Mascara is one of the worst…or at least the funniest things that girls apply, because it is usually black, and they have no idea how to put it on their eyelashes, but they know that is where it goes. Needless to say, it ends up being all over their eyes and their face, but they think it looks great, because their mommy does it, so it is just what everyone should be doing. Anyone who understands human nature, knows that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and every little girl wants to be just like her mommy.
When I posted the story about Corrie getting into my makeup, I thought is was pretty funny, but now I see, that like Corrie’s sister, Amy, who was so much like me in that she held the kitties by the neck, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree with my daughter Corrie either. Apparently, Corrie’s mom…i.e. me, was one of those little girls who wanted to flatter my mom by immitating her too. Mom caught me in a picture getting into her purse, and putting on her makeup. Of course, I don’t know what the aftermath was of that particular event, but I think that like most moms, my mom thought it was too cute to be mad about. And after all, if you don’t want your kids getting into your makeup, don’t leave your purse where your little one can get too it…right? Still, I don’t know of one mom who hasn’t had her child get into her purse once or twice.
That purse is another thing that little girls just love to play with. They know that the things in that purse are very important, or their mommy wouldn’t have one…right. It is simply a girly girl thing, and would we really have it any other way. Of course not. There is really nothing better that having our little daughter be our mini-me…whether that means clothes, purses, or as in the case of my mom, my daughter, and me, makeup. It’s funny that years later, when I was suddenly old enough to be allowed to wear makeup, I wasn’t as interested as my mother would have hoped…at least as far as lipstick was concerned. I wore mascara, but the rest of it…no, not for years anyway. We all grow up and realize…finally, what things look good and what things don’t. In my case, while our color preferences are different, my mom and I both wore pretty much the same types of makeup…including lipstick. I guess my mom knew what was pretty after all. Go figure.
Babies are so cute. They do things that we as adults can’t do, not only because we would be looked upon as a little off in the head, but because, lets face it…we don’t bend like that anymore. Things like trying to suck on our toes, like my sister, Caryl Reed is doing here, would be looked upon as disgusting, if they were done by adults, and in all reality, most adults would be hard pressed to get their feet to their mouth, although, I’m sure there are those who can do it. If you are one of those, it is probably best to keep it to yourself, because, as I said, people will think you are a little off in the head if you were to do that in public. And yet, we all find the pictures of babies sucking on their toes, to be so cute, that they are definitely Facebook worthy which is one of the highest compliments a picture can get these days. Of course, your baby isn’t really sucking on their toes because they taste good, but rather because they are curious about them, still we would look pretty ridiculous doing the same thing. Kids can get away with goofy stuff, but adults…not so much.
Another way that kids have all the freedom over adults is the area of eating and table manners. No one gives a second thought to the mess kids make at the dinner table…until it comes time to clean it up, anyway. When a baby puts a whole bowl of spaghetti on their head, it’s funny. When they like their food so much that they use their hands and shovel it in to the point of wearing almost as much of it on their face as they put in their tummy, it’s funny. When they fall asleep in their food, because lets face it, eating is hard work…it’s funny, and you still have to wonder how they can bend like that. Most adults would have to be drunk to fall asleep comfortably in their plate of food, but kids often do it without a bit of trouble.
And, of course, there are the non-food things that kids do that we as adults probably had better not do. My niece Aleesia Spethman walks in the door of her grandma, my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s house, and before very long, off come most of the clothes. And if there are any pretty shoes around, she is clomping around in those far too big for her shoes, looking like a princess, even thought all she has on is a diaper…or these days, underwear. Of course, Aleesia comes from a family, her grandmother and Aunt Chantel Balcerzak for sure, who are very warm blood people. The removal of the clothes can be a matter of being too hot. Nevertheless, her grandma and her aunt, certainly do not have the luxury of being able to run around in just a diaper, because as with so many other things kids do, that would be ridiculous. Childhood is a special time when these goofy, messy, and absolutely kid things can be done, and no one thinks it odd. It’s a time to find out about all the yummy things life has to offer, and a time to live free of embarrassment, restrictions, limits, and inhibitions.
For a number of years now, Bob and I have made a trip to Thermopolis each year in early March in celebration of our wedding anniversary, which is March 1st. Driving through the Wind River Canyon that many times, I feel like I know the face of those canyon walls pretty well. Since rainy weather has dominated this Spring, many areas of the state of Wyoming and several other states, flooding is a word that we have all gotten used to hearing. Since our state has been in a relative draught for a number of years, the ground has had a hard time absorbing all that water that has been coming in. And then there is the fact that we have had a few fires in key areas around the state. That adds an additional danger to certain areas…one of which is the Wind River Canyon, which was hit with mudslides and rockslides earlier this year.
This morning, Bob and I decided to take a drive up to Thermopolis to see for ourselves, exactly how the canyon face had been changed by the mudslides. Our granddaughter, Shai Royce decided to come along to see it too. We had seen the pictures of it on television and on the internet when it happened, but you really can’t get a clear picture of something like that until you see it up close. So, after breakfast we set out. It was a nice drive up to the Wind River Canyon, and at first, it didn’t look so different, but then we got to the area where the main slides were. It was much different.
I expected it to look different, and it did, but what I didn’t expect was to have it occur to me that I was looking at the changing face of the canyon. I thought about how the canyon had changed over the years of its existence. The river made most of the changes that had taken place, slowly carving out the depth of it with erosion. Soon, its walls were high and filled with the hard rocks that had survived the erosion process. The trees grew along the face of the walls, and in time we all thought it wouldn’t change much, but rock and mudslides can change the face of those canyon walls overnight. I found myself thinking about how easy it was to pick out the slide path of each slide area. The coloring of the upturned earth made it stand out as if it were florescent paint. I was able to see the complete path the mud and rocks took on their way down.
I realized that this was just one event, but it didn’t matter, because I was looking at the changes brought about by time. This was the canyon’s changing face, caused by the effects of weather, water, wind, and fire to bring about an entirely new look to a canyon that had been there so long, looking, or so I thought, always the same. In reality, it was ever changing.
When it comes to teaching babies how to do things, it seems like we all want a part in it. We may not even realize that we do, but we do. As mothers, we try many things to get our babies to eat solid foods…especially those dreaded vegetables. You might see a mother pretending that the spoon is an airplane or a train, hoping that her child will decide that food on a train or plane tastes better, or won’t notice that the dreaded vegetable has been eaten. Maybe those things work and maybe they don’t but either way, they can look very funny, and to think that as teenagers we were always thought of as pretty cool…so what happened? The thing I find really funny is that the mother always opens her mouth to apparently show the child what he needs to do. Like a kid who hates his vegetables is going to open his mouth just because his mommy did, right. I think not. Of course the funniest face in the food game is that of a child who absolutely hates the food he is getting. They look like you have just given them poison and…seriously, how could you be such a bad parent, but have you ever noticed that even a baby who hates food, happens to find her toes, she has no problem putting those in her mouth.
Something women tend to do for no real reason is the open mouth to put on mascara maneuver. I really don’t know what purpose this serves, but yes, I do it too. And, I don’t know of a single woman who wears mascara that doesn’t do that. Maybe it’s an instinct, but I simply can’t understand why. It’s rarely something I think of when I am putting on my mascara, but when it is mentioned…usually by a man…I have to wonder why I do it. They say that it doesn’t make it easier to get your mascara on, but they can’t convince my mouth of that fact. It just instinctively wants to help, just like the mom who opens her mouth to get baby to eat. I don’t know, maybe there really is an eye mouth connection.
Then, of course, there is the child having his first birthday. It’s only one candle, but for some reason, not even the baby’s breath can manage to blow it out. If you want those candles to stay lit, they simply won’t, but if baby is trying to blow them out, they are like a never ending flame. Have you ever looked around at the other people who are watching? I’ll bet that about half of them have their mouth puckered up trying to help the baby blow out the candles. They aren’t blowing out any air, they are just puckered up…almost like they are throwing a kiss, and the baby just sits there looking at the pretty candle. I’m not even sure they really want to blow it out. Whatever the reason, you will find no such difficulty when told to eat that cake. That kid…even the one who hates everything, will dive right in, and have a totally different look on their face. But then, the look on your face might be different if you were eating cake too.
When my nephew, Barry was a little boy, I used to get such a kick out of watching him open presents. Whether it was his birthday or Christmas made no difference, because Barry got excited!! I know, most kids do, but the looks on Barry’s face were just classic, and when his eyes lit up with pure excitement, it was impossible not to smile. For Barry, the best gifts were always trucks, but that didn’t mean that all the rest weren’t super cool too. I suppose that he initially thought that gifts were going to happen every couple of weeks, since his birthday is just two weeks before Christmas. For a little kid, that second dose of presents in such a short time could make it seem like this was going to be the new normal.
Of course, as time went by, Barry understood how it all worked, but he still got as excited as any other kid when his special day came along, or when Christmas finally arrived. The one thing he decided that he didn’t like too much was having that birthday so close to Christmas. That put all the excitement of receiving gifts in one short little time frame and then left a whole year until he got gifts again. In a way, that was a disappointment to the rest of us too, because we didn’t get to see how excited he got for a whole year either.
I can’t say that Barry still gets so excited about gifts on his birthday or Christmas, after all, he is a grown man now. Maybe he just holds that excitement inside…like we all do at one time or another. And he doesn’t have that little baby face anymore or his little boys ways, and in many ways, I miss both of those things sometimes, because like all kids, Barry grew up too fast. He has grown into a wonderful man, who is always there to lend a helping hand. He is someone you can always count on when you need something done. He still likes his trucks and other toys, but these days they are just bigger and more expensive. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day, and try to contain your excitement, ok!! We love you!!
In church on Sunday, we were talking about patience…a subject that we all need to think about, but often don’t. It brought to mind something that happened to me years ago…on my way to my bridal shower. For those of you who are a part of the Byer family, you will understand how this could happen. And for those who aren’t, the Byer family has a different way of looking at time than the rest of the world. They operate on Byer Time, and that is 30 to 60 minutes later than the time that the clock shows. Unfortunately for some of us in this family, being fashionably late is not something we ever thought was the right way to do things. I happened to be one of those people, due to being half Spencer maybe, while my mother…a Byer by birth, even if she was half Pattan, definitely operated on Byer Time. I will say that time and circumstances can mellow a person, and I don’t stress about the time nearly as much as I used to, especially concerning Byer family functions.
Mom and I were on our way to my bridal shower, and as usual, we were running late, because Mom took so long to get ready. I was ready early, and growling around like a caged lion. Finally we were on our way, with every stop light and every slow moving car in front of me raising my anger level even more. I was driving, and yelling at everything as we went, and I came up on a car a little way before we got to the turn by the Wagon Wheel Roller Rink, that was moving particularly slow…at least in my mind. Mom tried in vain to calm me down, but I was having none of it. I screamed at the woman, and at some point (looking back I’m not sure just where or how) I passed her, screaming and yelling at her all the way
It was at this point that I realized that the woman in the slow moving car, was none other than my Great Aunt Gladys. Now she never said a word about my behavior, but then she didn’t have to. Not only was I horrified that I had acted in such a way toward one of my favorite great aunts, but then I got to face her at the shower. As I said, she never said a word about it, but I had to carry on a conversation with her, hoping that she was still speaking to me, and hoping that my face didn’t show the true level of the humiliation I felt.
I have had several turning points in my life, concerning patience…or the lack thereof, and each one of them has left it’s impressions on my mind. I have to hope that I have learned a few things about that in my lifetime, and I often feel like I have a good handle on it now…until the next episode, that is.
My grand niece, Christina has to spend this, her 17th birthday, staying off of her feet after having surgery on her knee a few days ago. While I’m sure that the pain of her injured knee was far worse than the knee that is healing nicely, my guess is that fact does little to make her feel better about having to spend her birthday sitting in a chair waiting for this whole ordeal to be over.
The good news for Christina, is that her good friend and cousin, my granddaughter, Shai is spending part of the day with her. We have had several cousins in our family who were such good friends that they didn’t even seem like cousins, just friends. Christina and Shai were born 5 days apart, with another cousin Chris in there to, at 4 days after Christina. We were a busy bunch at that time. With Chris being a boy, he didn’t get into the girl thing with Christina and Shai.
Christina and Shai have many of the same interests. They love shopping, and used to hang out at the mall as much a possible. They both like all the girlie things, from make up, to hair dye, to jewelry, to clothes. But probably the thing that stands out the most about these girls is that they are just plain goofy when they get together. They are always posting the funniest pictures together, just to see if they can get a laugh out of their friends. The goofier the face they make, the more they like the picture.
Today is Christina’s 17th birthday, and it has been a difficult one with the knee surgery. Christina, I hope you have a good day in spite of the pain you are in. We love you very much. Happy birthday Christina. If you can’t have a great day, at least have a goofy one between the pain med doses.