It’s hard to figure out if humans are born with innate abilities and personalities or if they are born with a clean slate. When learning this concept in college in both psychology 101 and philosophy 101, I figured it must be a combination, but I leaned towards being born with a few stuff. I’ve met people with abilities that just couldn’t be all learned.
Then I had Evan. I learned you have to teach a baby to smile. What smiling isn’t inherently known? How could such a simple, easy act of affection not be ingrained in the human psyche from birth? Smiling makes people happy. It gets you stuff. It makes you more likable. And it gives you better wrinkles than frown lines. I mean honestly, smile wrinkles are a million times better than frown lines. A million times better.
So maybe we have more of a clean slate than I thought. But then Evan’s personality grew, and I’m still on the fence. I might have birthed a combination of my little brother and I. Which is weird. Evan has his mother’s talking and story-telling abilities, but he’s an extrovert that is a daredevil with that damn mischievous twinkle in his eye. Sean is more steady, talks a lot, more cautious, and he’s defiantly an introvert.
Now there is Aidan, who is cooing along in his rocker instead of being carted around the house as I work on cleaning it. Aidan is learning to smile. He just gave me a whole bunch of them, inspiring this post and making my voice go up so high I sound like a cartoon character. Last week, I caught his first smile on camera. I realize his smile lights up my life, like Evan’s, Sean’s, The Husband’s. It’s my shield against the darkness, the unknown, or just the every day drudge of boredom of doing the same damn thing over and over again, like picking up that living room. Stupid toys and shoes and books, oh wait, those are mine.
I realized I haven’t been smiling as much with all those demons I’ve been fighting. So today I vow to smile more. Until it kills me. And maybe I can have my own shield or maybe someone else can use it. And maybe I’ll be more optimistic too. And maybe I can be happier. And maybe . . . and maybe . . . and maybe it’ll bring world peace. Or maybe I should just relax and smile.