Struggling To Smile

I woke up Thursday morning feeling more tired than I went to bed - if that's even possible - and, though I wasn't sure why, I woke up feeling melancholy as well. Just exhausted, emotionally and physically. Maybe it's because it was the first year in ten years that I haven't been able to attend the Character Education Partnership Forum which was kicking off that day, maybe because I miss my college girl, maybe because our "new normal" is a bit overwhelming right now. The last thing I wanted to do was to rush off to school. I decided to treat myself to a venti Cinnamon Dolce at Starbucks to help soothe my sadness. Yummy, right? I wasn't too sure about the wisdom of THAT decision when I turned the corner out of the parking lot a little tight and that cup of costly coffee poured itself into my lap. Really?  Wearing my java on my jeans, I had to go back home to change my clothes and it took everything. I. had. to get back into that car and drive myself to work.
     All of that happened before 7:30 a.m. I don't mind telling you that I wasn't in the best of moods when I headed out to the front for car-line duty, but in good-Ron-Clark fashion, I was determined to fake it until I felt it. Fortunately car-rider duty is my favorite, so I put on that signature smile and started opening car doors like I meant it. That's when Zachary's car pulled up. He's in kindergarten this year, so I don't know this little PeaceMaker very well, but my morning instantly turned around when I saw his sweet face smiling an outrageously B.I.G. smile at me. He handed me a box to hold while I helped him get down from the back seat of a car that seemed to swallow him up. When I attempted to return the box, he smiled bigger than before - if that's even possible - and said, "Nope, that's for you!"  And then, I. LOST. it.  
     Sure, I was teary-eyed earlier, but now I was totally crying. (Please don't let him see me cry, please don't let him see me cry!) Tears of joy this time. From his little hand and big heart came a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies with a note that read:  Thank you for your smile every morning!  It means a lot!  Love, Zachary C. There could have been a toad in this box and it wouldn't have mattered . . . that message meant the world to me. What started out as a not-too-many-reasons-to-rejoice kind of morning instantly turned into an I-can-do-this sort of day, thanks to one random act of kindness from a boy and his mom to comfort a counselor on the curb who was struggling to smile.


  1. sorry to hear you had a rough morning but so happy to hear it turned itself around because of that RAK. Out of the mouths of babes...

  2. Oh, Barbara! It seems like you had quite a morning. Hope you enjoy the weekend and wishing you a lot more days of cheerfulness.

  3. Barbara-Dear:

    Well, it's a good thing it's Saturday because I am constantly going to school puffy-eyed after reading your posts! And this one did me in!

    Now I can just sit in my house and be puffy-eyed without anyone noticing! (Hmmmm... Now might be a good time to go back and read--or re-read--some of your older posts!)

    I'm sorry your morning started in such a rotten way (and REALLY sorry about the Starbucks... fashion decoration). But I am so glad that Zachary came to your rescue. Just another example of how you touch others.

    I hope you realize how much you affect people... even those who live across the country! You were with me while I planned Red Ribbon Week at my school, with me when I celebrated a friend's daughter who received a PeaceBuilders Award and with me when I (silently) DELIGHTED in the fact that my kids had voted for the-kid-who-risked-it-all rather than the self-assured cool cat in our Student Council elections.

    I can't send you cookies (I would if I could!) but I can send you a cyber hug and a post of appreciation for believing that teaching about character makes a difference.

    Drat. Puffy-eyed again.

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  4. Wow! The kids love you! I am sorry you had a rough morning, but let me tell you.. You mean a lot to me too! And I am so glad someone blessed you with a turn around day!

  5. Love it! I understand having a tough week. That was me last week. So hard to get out of bed. Hang in there. It's those sweet ones that keep us going! What a love bug!

    Rowdy in First Grade

  6. WOWza . . . thank you all SO much for sending sunshine my way! It's amazing how a few kind words of affirmation make SUCH a huge difference. I went ahead and took yesterday afternoon off to unwind, bake a bit, and power nap - what a difference a little R and R can make as well!!!

    Feeling the love,


  7. WOW! What a way to remind you about the power of a smile!!! LOVE this!

    Runde's Room

  8. What a sweet story. I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing:))) You've put a SMILE on MY face now.

    Grade ONEderful

  9. That brought tears to my eyes!! What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing to perk up our days too!



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