I miss smiles and sharing meals

I love when I’m out just minding my own business and I hear someone laugh out loud. It makes me smile, sometimes it makes me laugh too. And I don’t even know what they’re laughing about. It just feels good to be around people laughing.

I haven’t heard as much of that this year. First, I just haven’t been around random people as much and second, the people who are out are busy getting after their business. We’re just not lingering in way that leads to laughter. And third, don’t you miss seeing peoples’ mouths. We’re all getting better at sending and receiving cues with our eyes—a raised eyebrow here, a solid eye-contact moment there—but it’s not the same.

We’ve come to realize just how expressive our mouths are. I miss them. On a simple trip to the grocery store, we would interact almost nonstop with other shoppers—a little smile that says you go ahead and grab some limes, or that grimace that says sorry that I cut you off, or just the grin of acknowledgement that says I recognize you as another human being.

And then there is talking and laughing in social situations, at restaurants, out and about, shopping. With our masks on we walk around quickly getting done what we need to get done and move on.

I’m a solid proponent of wearing masks. It seems like the kindest thing we can do for our fellow humans to not risk their health. But I am sure looking forward to the day when I can walk into a restaurant and greet a friend with a big ol’ smile followed by a heartfelt belly laugh.

We’re not quite there yet, but with the vaccines, we can be there in our small groups of friends and families. We’ve gotten a taste of sitting around a dinner table with a small group of friends and family and sharing a meal. Once again, we come to the greatness of our mouths. Chatting, sharing a meal, smiling all happen right there.

As I’ve written before, it feels like spring, truly and metaphorically, with the promise of summer close behind. The virus is on the run, but we have to keep after it. We can all get jabbed now and we’re pretty darn used to wearing our masks.

The sooner we get there, the sooner we can all see each other smile and laugh and, I hope, carry on. Spring always feels best after a long, cold winter.

Here’s to smiling at you!