happy, joy, duck, music

From a bass-playing 9-year-old to a marathon running duck, enjoy some snippets of joy from around the internet.

It's smile time, folks!

Each week, we round up some of the most delightful things around the interwebs to share in one spot, in the hopes that a little timeline cleanser will bring you some comfort, joy and maybe even a little hope as you head into the weekend. There's no shortage of bad news out there, and social media can be a quagmire of outrage and negativity sometimes, so let's focus on some simple good stuff for a minute.

From adorable animals to talented kids to hilarious Icelanders, here are 10 things that made us smile this week:


9-year-old bass player nails Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" and it's sheer delight.

Ellen Alaverdyan is only 9, but she's already an accomplished bassist. It's her contagious joy, though, that's the best part of this video. It just gets better and better.

Wrinkle the duck running in the NYC Marathon with her custom running shoes. 

Didn't know you needed to see a duck running a marathon, did you? Go, Wrinkle, go! (Read the full story here.)

Elephants enjoying a private violin concert from violinist Big Lux.

Roger Willilams Park Zoo shared in a Facebook post that the music "provided our girls with voluntary visual and auditory enrichment." Music "stimulates their senses," eliciting "natural behaviors from hearing new sounds" and improves their quality of life. Read the story here.

Speaking of animals enjoying music, watch this fox stop to listen to the banjo.

How gorgeous is this video? The music, the backdrop of the misty mountains and the beautiful fox stopping for a moment to enjoy it. Bliss.

And speaking of bliss, let's go back to elephants for a sec because OMG.

How happy is this fuzzy baby to be in the water? Gracious, that looks refreshing.

Iceland tourism ad hilariously pokes fun of Mark Zuckerberg and the "metaverse."

Welcome to the Icelandverse, where everything and everyone is real, no one seems like an android and nobody has to wear silly-looking VR headsets. (If you're not sure what this is referencing, see the first three minutes of Mark Zuckerberg's metaverse announcement.) Who knew Iceland had such a hilarious sense of humor?

Kitten being fed a bottle? Adorable. The ears, though, are just too much.

Those ears. I can't.

The video is funny enough, but the caption is spot on.

Chimpanzees are always funny, but especially when they do something we see ourselves doing. And I 100% have looked like this trying to carry out a bunch of groceries when I've forgotten a bag and didn't want to pay for one.

This baby getting to see clearly for the first time is pure magic.

I know how life-changing it is just to get new eyeglasses prescription—imagine what it must be like to have never seen clearly before and then suddenly being able to. Her face says it all.

Next time you need a pick me up, let this guy's dancing pump you up.

We are ready to rumble! Let's GOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Hope that brought a smile to your face and some light to your soul—and maybe even added a little pep to your step!

Come back next week for another roundup of smile-worthy snippets of joy.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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