We were having a ball! At one point, my son looked up and me and said, “I love when you smile, mom.”
I thought about it. Does he see me smile enough? How often do I smile?
After the kiddos were asleep that night, his six words kept coming to me, “I love when you smile, mom.” Those six words spoke volumes. They held his desire, hope, wish and gratitude. I imagined a “letter” that was contained in those six short words…
I want to see you smile. The kind of smile where I can tell that you are truly happy. No, not every single moment, but I gotta be honest, I love seeing you smile most of the day. That’s what I’m wishing for you — that most of the day, you are HAPPY. Not estatic or over-the-top bubbling over with joy (though throw in at least one moment like that into a day and that would rock!). But the happy that runs deep The happy that …..
When you smile, I let go of my worry that I don’t even know how to name.
When you smile, I feel safe and everything is going to be ok – no matter if I wrote my “b” wrong or I don’t know fancy math; if I fell off my bike or someone wasn’t kind at recess; if you just got mad and we are trying to regroup or I can’t find my spy hat, pen, notebook, and blazer.
When you smile, I know we are on the same team and loving this life together.
When you smile, I get those mirror neurons firing (yes, you taught me about these guys!) and I smile, too.
When you smile, you – my absolute hero who I think is larger than life and on par with the awesomeness of stars and galaxies – tell me that there is goodness to be felt and had and shared in this world.
I love to see you smile, mom.
Moms, a lot rests on our shoulders. If you are like me, you are always watching, observing, being acutely aware of how your kiddos are doing, what makes them thrive, what hurts them, what challenges them, what goes unspoken, and what they need — now, after you pick them up from school, this year, in five years, and in their lifetime.
If you are a mom like me, you can get caught up in – too absorbed in – the worry that we miss this moment. We focus on the negative or the potentially threatening (thanks, negative bias!), and forget about the wonderful. The amazing. The miraculous. The beautiful. The precious right here. And…smile. A deep smile.
The other day I was in the shower and I caught myself finding something to worry about. I was scanning our day and saw how I was looking for something to be concerned about. Then I remembered what my son said, “I love when you smile, mom.” And I thought, “Slow down, little mama! Give your nervous system a break!”
There is a smile within me. And the other day, making green slime and troll snot, I was reminded that a simple hug, a big smile, and a loving look are what deeply nourish our kiddos.
I’ve got a smile in me. And I’m going to let my kiddos see it more often. Not a fake smile. Not the kind of smile that we’ve been taught to put on in public while we “grin and bear it.” But the kind of smile that comes from a deep sense of regard for the preciousness of this life that is right here just as it is.
This doesn’t dismiss the hard, challenging, grief, sadness, pain and suffering that is inevitable in life. We learn to hold this all with compassion and mindfulness. We don’t ignore it or push it away. We can teach our kiddos how to wisely “tend and befriend” those tough emotions, situations, and circumstances. That is part of parenting, too. AND…there is also goodness to be held, savored, and shared. Today, I am focusing on the good, and smiling.
Lisa A. McCrohan
MA, LCSW-C, RYT
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