Have you ever wondered how it is exactly that a baby learns to smile? A baby innately learns to mirror expressions by simply watching the faces that smile down upon him or her. Yet, it is also somewhat of a complex skill. The actual physical act of smiling requires both the will (choosing to smile) and the act (moving the muscles to form a smile).
Isn't it neat that this is one of the first skills babies learn? I marvel at how fearfully and wonderfully they are made. In the face of a smiling infant, we see that smiling is an instinctive response to the joy and love one feels inside.
We coo over and smile madly at our newborn babies to the point it would seem silly if we were to look at anyone else that way and smile at them as long.
What happens to these smiles? I've smiled incessantly at all my newborns, showing them how to smile at first, and then smiling back at them when they show me those great big happy grins on their own.
But where do those smiles go? Chances are, you don't smile at your six-year old the same way you smiled at him when he was a six-week old. (I know I don't). Yet, this reflection caused me to realize, no matter what their age, they still need us to smile at them. Lots. The kind of smiles where you just sit and stare and smile at them and remind them how much joy they bring to your life.
So let's sit and smile today. Silly long smiles that teach our newborns to smile big, happy smiles; and the kind that cause our older children to stop and say, "Mom, why are you looking at me that way?"
Let the love you feel inside come out with a smile, just like a baby is learning to do.
(linked to We are That Family)