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Last night when I accompanied my sister to take my niece to the hospital I realized that being a parent is so much more than just playing or being funny to make them laugh when they’re crying. Being a parent is a 24/7 thing, especially in the early months and even more when they are sick. I saw my sister carrying my niece (she didn’t want to go with me) for three hours until a doctor saw my niece and it was only because she got purple and stopped breathing. Saying that it was terrifying doesn’t do it justice, my heart literally stopped, everything happened so fast.

It was in the time that I had to stay outside that I met this young lady with her son and daughter. She was waiting to be admitted because her son was very ill and when she saw what happened to my niece she began to cry. Being the small hospital that it was, people just seemed to bond out of a mixture of fear, hope and nostalgia. She told me how she had a son who got like that while she was pregnant with the little one she was holding. He died in her arms, and then it was everyone comforting everyone.

It was a weird feeling but we all seemed to be there for one another. Everyone in that tiny waiting room suddenly started to swap stories as to why they were there or past experiences. You see so much in an emergency room, so much. You get to see just about every human emotion from the happiest to the most heart breaking. It was the parents that really got me thinking about what it really means to be a parent. It seems almost as if being a parent gives you some kind of superhuman strength, and some parents are truly ones to be admired.

In the end my niece was released in the middle of the night, many of the people we met were still there waiting. As soon as we walked out they rushed over like any family member would, and wished my niece and my sister the very best. With their blessings and heartfelt stories we went on our way home, and blessed we were with my niece’s recovery. Something that has always bewildered me is how much support and familiarity you can find in a stranger, this one is for all those wonderful people we met for they are a real testament of hope.

Smile, there may be someone who might just need to see one to believe again.

I still remember the first time I really walked into my boyfriend’s house, alone. It was last Summer when his mom invited me over to get to know me more, I was so nervous. There was much more to that visit, there was a connection and she helped me get through my mini depression episode that I had when our young man left to the service. It was her, her daughter and I sitting in that living room with a box full of pictures. Within the minute I walked in I felt at home, they didn’t look down on me, they didn’t make me feel like a stranger, I was like family.

Over the last couple of months they’ve given me the chance to meet the whole family in a more intimate way and I’ve been so thankful for that opportunity. It’s very nice to be able to go over when our young man is away, spend time with the family. Today my family got together to celebrate Easter with a small BBQ and an egg hunt for the kids, even pool time and they asked me to invite my boyfriend’s family to join us.

Honestly, I was scared. Knowing how my family is, they are very shy and my mom rarely has a conversation longer than a minute. Mostly, I was scared that our families would shy away from each other or not get along because of language and such. I was a bit scared to do this on my own without my boyfriend around. In the end, it turned out to be a great success!

Yes, our families got along so well I was shocked! My brother was shocked to see my mom talk for hours and hours, my nieces and nephews got along with my boyfriend’s siblings, and his family met my whole family even my sister’s-in-law’s family. I’ve got a big smile on my face, couldn’t ask for more than two see harmony between our families. The best part? It wasn’t even about my boyfriend and I, it was about all the things they all have in common; we just happened to be the connection.

Smile, sometimes you fear the worst only to have the best happen.

I remember that when I was little and there were so many things that I didn’t understood so I made up my own explanations, my own reasons to why things happened the way they did. I never understood why some people were the way they were, or why they would treat me they way they did. Over the years I made countless excuses for them not realizing that I was setting myself to a state of denial instead of looking at things for what they really were.

Bottom line is we won’t please everyone we meet. Unfortunately, that also includes family, people that we unconditionally love, people that won’t feel the same way about us. When we’re little our eyes see the world with a lens of innocence, time goes by so slow, we feel free, and careless. As we grow older we begin to see things by how they really are, and we realize that there’s so much more out there than we ever imagined. As children, some of us are lucky enough to have not experienced discrimination of any kind, our world was sugar coated.

What about the kids who are not as privileged? Children that have been: raped, molested, discriminated, abused, mistreated, and stayed in silence. A friend of mine told me I was privileged for knowing what it meant to love without fear. She was raped when she was ten years old by a family member. Another friend told me how he is always weary of visiting friends because when he was little he was discriminated by his friend’s parents for being African-American. Similar stories went on and on, and as I listened to every one of those stories I thought: how come I never heard any of this when I was little? These people are my friends, my peers. The people I see everyday with a smile on their face, and I was so angry and I felt so impotent.

New slang when you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries”, and that’s when innocence is gone. Is it better to live in a state of innocence where the world is sugar coated? Or in a world where you see things for what they really are? I prefer to notice the stripes, and the dirt on my fries, sure there are things I miss of those “good ol’ days” but I wouldn’t want to go back.

Some people will smile while hurting inside, while the world remains unaware. Believe it or not, some people are very unaware of what is going on around them, let alone in the world. There are many vile people in this world, but don’t forget that there’s also good hearted people out there willing to lend a helping hand.

Smile, we are the hope of tomorrow.

     School is about to start, the whole hype about kids going to school reminds me of when I was younger. I remember that every year I would look forward for that school shopping experience. I remember going down the isles with my brother and or my sister and they would ask me what materials I would be needing for school. This, this, that… The routine was always the same, and always pleasant.

I loved going school shopping. There was just something so nice about that “starting all over” feeling that I loved so much. Each year was the same, a new beginning, a new start. Seeing my nieces and nephews getting ready to go to school really brings me back to my days when I was their age. A lot has changed from what I’ve seen. Perhaps I’m getting to old, perhaps I’m still stuck in my old ways when things seemed more childish and naïve. Nowadays I see kids more worried about other things like makeup (yeah, I’ve seen first graders worried about makeup), and new gadgets and cellphones. I’m talking about kids here! Maybe I really am stuck in the olden days when a lunch box was so cool to have, when the biggest gadget you owned was a Gigapet or a calculator that you didn’t even need. I miss the old days when backpacks where all about Hello Kitty and Lisa Frank and not about Hanna Montana and all those other characters that are way too out there for me.

I remember how the most we complained about where uniforms, and how much we disliked wearing those collar shirts. Now kids that don’t have to take uniform complain about having brand jeans and designer clothes. I miss the simple days of school, the more childish days where kids were actually kids and enjoyed their childhood. Today all I see is kids so worried about their body and image, and having the new styles and being popular. Today it seems that being a second grader and not having a phone is a big deal breaker. What has happened? Why can’t we be a big more conscious about giving kids a break and let them be kids. Then again times have changed, but I don’t think I’ll ever change in liking the simpler things in life.

Smile, just because times change doesn’t mean you can’t reminisce about your good times. 

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