Introduction to Smiling Pains

I grew up in a house where a frown was called a frog face. I don’t want to look like a frog, so I smile a lot. For the most part, it is usually returned. Occasionally, however, I get a reaction of nothing or even a grimace. I can sympathize though. Let’s face facts; in today’s world, there is way too much to frown about.

One place in particular I personally find a smile challenging is the grocery store. It is far from the inviting image the bright yellow rollback smiley faces portray on one grocery chain’s commercials. In my opinion, the atmosphere is akin to a headache and incidentally, I always leave the store with one. Still, I continue to smile.

A typical shopping trip for me usually begins with grabbing a broken buggy that violently jerks to the right every few feet as I make my way through the store. Then, the truly fun part begins. The joke is always on me when the store decides to rearrange everything every few months so I can’t find the items on my list. As I look, I dodge a countless number of other customers who also have broken buggies and are suffering from “buggy rage.” Don’t worry. It happens to even the best of us. Just keep smiling.

The best part of the shopping adventure is standing in the checkout line for forty-five minutes to an hour because there are only four lanes open and fifty customers in line. It’s during this time in the store that my son grows antsy and begs for me to hurry up so we can leave. He spies all the items hanging by the registers for purchase. He wants one of everything, especially the candy bars. I smile as brightly as I can by this point as I tell him no.

When it is finally my turn to checkout, I try to load my groceries in my buggy as quickly as possible so I can leave. By the time I turn back around to pay, the customer behind me has moved up to the cash register and I am forced to jam my hip into their buggy so I am able to reach to swipe my check card. I won’t mention what it was like the time the cashier actually asked to see the signature on the card and my check card was so old that the signature had rubbed off, so we had to start over again. Ha-ha. That day was truly a test in smiling through the pain.

On my way out of the store, with my new headache and a load of groceries to load in the car and unload at home, I smile. For just a split second, it even turns into a real one when the door greeter mutters, “God Bless you.”

I believe that my smile is important and I choose to smile in the grocery store because when I glance down at my son I see him watching me and learning from me. A smile is often a challenge for me, but it truly is a gift I can give even when it hurts. I think it is worth the pain, so I keep practicing.

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Published in: on October 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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