Thursday, August 20, 2009

Does smiling really matter?

I don't look happy in our vacation video. I felt happy but the pictures show a stone faced and serious mom. My lips are so tightly closed that I can see lines where they bunch together. Zack took a video of Mikey eating spaghetti because it was hilarious. Mikey was naked (think hot Mexico) and working so hard to stuff one strand of spaghetti into his month. He was covered in red sauce. When the camera shows me, my eyes are so wide that it looks like I don't have eyelids. I am so focused on feeding Mikey that I am missing the comedy of the whole scene. But I swear, I wasn't. I was happy and giddy the whole time. I guess it was on the inside because my face showed a totally different story.

[Previously published for sfgate.com/moms]

I've decided to start forcing a smile. Not like a fake smile but more of a relaxed face smile. I've heard laughing is therapeutic and in Bali they meditate with a smile. So I've decided to practice relaxing my face, parting my lips slightly, and curling up the ends of my mouth as often as I think about it.

Now that I am aware of my tight face syndrome, I can feel it. I felt it driving towards the Laurel Village parking lot, and then I loosened it and found a parking spot right away. I felt my lips tighten and pucker while picking poultry at the grocery store. I relaxed and felt happier instantly. I smile when I do the dishes. I smile when I type on the computer. I smile when I play with Mikey.

Being a mom is sometimes so intense that I have to stay focused and on task, but now I am doing it with a smile.

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