What has made me smile

I began to think about what really mattered during the daily mask parade, washing and sanitizing, election drama and the lack of daily normalcy that everyone can say they are experiencing today. Being home for Halloween on a day where the weather surprised us with sun and warmth, I was shocked that I received twenty trick or treaters with Mom, Dad or Grandma, knocking at my door as Covid continued to follow. I was safely prepared with a selection of wrapped candy, in treat bags, my mask in order as I answered the door. But the look in the eyes of the masked crowds told me everything. They were not excited about candy. It was knocking at the door, saying trick or treat and someone like me commenting about their costumes. That was the special social connection that made me smile.

As an assistant in a first grade classroom which has been in person with some some remote learning, children have adapted well to not being able to play with each other at school. Though one did comment that she missed the playground as she dreamily stared at the slides and swings while taking a break outside. Another Covid no no at school. Wonderful Halloween virtual parades had been recorded on You Tube for those who could not visit at school. However, some missed being able to see Grandma or Grandpa during the traditional outdoor experience….again being wowed by the neat costume from family.

But it was the day after the election that my Halloween smile turned to joyous tears and not because of the election. During morning meeting in the classroom, the teacher asks a question everyday. Sometimes it refers to your favorite food, what did you do over the weekend or your favorite game. On this day, she asked what has made you smile recently and I was the first to raise my hand and be called on.

It was not the Halloween trick or treaters or virtual parade. No, this was about my Soul Sister who sent me a book the night before entitled just that. This was about my beautiful friend, Carmella, who I have known since college. Someone who knows exactly what I am feeling, through the years, regardless of how often we see each other. Because of Covid fears we have not been able to get together for many months so I shared how happy I was to hear from her and the precious book about the true value of friendship. My short story almost brought tears to the teachers eyes. I promised I would bring the book to show the class the next day though just from afar. For many years, Carmella has suffered from Multiple Sclerosis.

So I shared Soul Sister written by Kelly Rae Robert and one first grader immediately read the title herself explaining what a Soul Sister was to me; truly a great friend that thinks about you all the time and doesn’t worry if you make a mistake. She really cares about you and understands. The same young lady saw a picture in the book that looked like me; you have the same hair!

Exquisitely written, it is a book that I will take with me in my travel bag at school, find a spot on my writing desk at home or place on my nightstand at night. That’s how much it means to me. My favorite line stays with me...it’s our friendships that crack open our hearts to the light within ourselves. Later, the children remembered and talked of their own friends. One asked another to join in their circle.

We are side by side, heart to heart in this beautiful thing they call life, the author finalizes. Thank you, my soul sister, for reminding me now and forever in God’s breath that you so eloquently added in a note on the cover. I will never forget.

Kelly Rae Robert offers a variety of creative artwork, a blog, retreats and other inspirational products including gift books and cards.

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