I grew up in an age when people spanked their kids. In fact, I can’t think of one friend who never had a spanking. And my mother could discipline with the best of them. I just don’t think she liked it much. Oh, she could get in there and scream as well as anyone, and she wasn’t a push-over by any stretch of the imagination. But, in reality, I don’t think that she really liked all the screaming and arguing that went on in a house full of girls. You see, my dad was the only man, or boy in the house for all of our young years. Counting mom, it was 6 to 1.

Raising 5 girls with all of the emotions that can go on with 5 drama queens, I can’t help but wonder how she managed to keep her sanity. Part of her way was to tell us, “Just wait until your dad gets home!!” And it was a threat that would bring fear to our hearts, although I don’t exactly know why. My dad had a way of working out a situation without the need for a spanking, much of the time. Mom’s big threat was all the trouble we were going to be in when dad got home, and believe me, if you deserved it, you got it…big time, but if it could be worked out without a spanking, dad could do it. He really didn’t spank us much, we just knew that if he did…boy were we going to wish he hadn’t had to.

Mom’s way, on the other hand…whenever possible anyway, was to spread the sunshine and smiles. I remember that even if we had all been screaming and fighting, when all was said and done, Mom would sing some song like, “Let a smile be your umbrella, on a rainy, rainy day.” Or she might sing, “Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the sunny side of life.” Anything to stop the fighting and hopefully put a little cheer back into the house. Mom always hated the fighting that could go on in a house full of girls with very different points of view…and believe me, we could go at it. So much so that sometimes Mom would just decide that if fighting was what we wanted to do, we were going to do it!! Have you ever tried to fight on demand? It has a way of making you feel really ridiculous. At some point, you give up and end up laughing about the whole thing. I guess she was a pretty wise woman.

Mom always wanted her kids to be happy. She wanted our lives to be…just a little bit like living in Perfect. And while she knew that there was no real place like Perfect, she knew that her words and songs could add a little sunshine to our lives, so that has always been her goal. To this day, whenever we seem down in the dumps, or life is filled with stress, we can count on Mom to tell us, “Keep on the sunny side!!” That is just how she is. it’s who she is…the Keeper of the Sunshine!!

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