From One Parent to Another, Smiling it Forward

I’ve been looking forward to sitting down and writing this post for awhile. Because what a lovely topic, right? Smiling it Forward. It’s not often that I get paid to write about something like it. (By the way, I have received information and products from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks. Yada, yada.) But instead this post turned into the story of why it was so hard for me to write this post. Meta.

Smiling It Forward

That smiling imp above is my girl.
And that smile on her face is so lovely to see. Because so often her face in contorted in pain.

It’s not actual pain. At least we don’t think so.

No, this is more of a psyche pain. Her insecurities and fears often eat at her from the inside out. She is angry and upset at herself, at the world, at us. Clothes piled on a table drive her crazy. As do partially shut doors. And any songs not the first on the CD. Life is not orderly enough for her. At least not to her standard.

Often this drives me crazy. So crazy that I couldn’t write this post. How could I write about joy in my kids when there’s a black cloud hanging above my daughter and a whole storm system hanging above mine? But then she asks me if she thinks her grandma will make her Christmas pajamas this year with the same tone most kids reserve for the promise of a pony. And a smile spreads across my face.

It’s hard to look for the good when you’re feeling down (physically or mentally.) Sometimes, it just takes a moment like the one I had. And sometimes it takes a mountain of these moments, followed by several late night conversations with friends and a bag of tootsie rolls. I’ve learned during my own family’s struggle that the good is hardest to see in your own life.

No one knows the whole story. So I have resolved to stop wondering. When I see someone having a bad moment with their kids I smile at them. When there is a mom in front of me with a cart of groceries and two crying kids in line behind me, I let them go ahead of me. I’ve learned not to take it personally when my friends don’t call and instead smile and ask them how they are when they reemerge.

There’s so much to bring us down as parents.
Let’s try bringing each other up instead.
Start smiling it forward my friends, smiling it forward.

To continue to spread smiles and help children in need receive the health care they deserve, you can share a photo that makes you smile at SmilingItForward.com, and TYLENOL® will make a $1 donation to Children’s Health Fund, up to $100,000.

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