the sweetest thing

My mom confidently believes that with the right tone (and smile) you can get someone to do anything you want.

And her confidence in this theory stems from years of getting exactly what she desires.

You want a full refund on the used and broken blender you bought on sale a year ago? Sure!

You want to be bumped up to first class for free? Of course!

You want us to get you in to see the doctor even though there is a nine month waiting list? No problem!

And although she tweaked her skills with airline attendants and coworkers alike, I believe she truly developed her talent while she and my dad raised five kids.

She often reminisces about the days when she'd walk into our rooms first thing in the morning and in a sing-song voice (with a 100 watt smile) say, "Guess what we get to do today? Clean your room!"

And we'd jump out of bed, eager to embark on this greater purging adventure.

Of course, this doesn't work quite as well with my brothers anymore, but I'm confident my sisters and I would still easily fall for the masterful trick.

Another legendary story is that she used to feed us pea popsicles as dessert. Literally, these were frozen blocks of peas. But with that sweet tone and smile she made us believe these frozen chunks of green glory really were better than Dairy Queen.

Of course, though, we weren't deprived. Every Friday we were allowed a frozen Hi-C while we watched TGIF. All through dinner we dreamed of the magical treats waiting for us in the freezer. And after we cleaned up, we'd run to the freezer and take turns microwaving them until they were just slushy enough. Every now and then we'd forget to cut the top of and the metal strip would ignite...but my parents were always prepared with back ups (I think my brothers kind of liked seeing the fire).

And although I can still taste the savory frozen treat, the best part of Friday nights was that we all slept together in the family room. My parents laid out five side by side pallets so we could
all snuggle close as we waited for Full House to begin (It wasn't until recently that I discovered most people don't call a blanket laid in half like a bed a pallet- just my parents. Apparently a pallet is really a flat transport structure that supports goods in a stable fashion while being lifted by a forklift. But to us, it was still perfection).

When I think about those wonderful nights together, it makes me yearn to be close to my family. It also makes me ache for those who don't have strong bonds with their family, or those who don't have siblings. And it makes me dream of the day that we'll all be close together again, as opposed to this Colorado to Atlanta spread.

But more than anything, it makes me so grateful to have such wonderful people to turn to in even the most difficult of times. And whether you say it with my mom's smile and sing-song tone, or read it on a piece of paper, there is no doubt that nothing is better than that. Not even pea popsicles.