The Simple Reminder of a Toddler’s Smile


With Lola’s big sister, every couple of months her nana and I found ourselves at the photo studio of a local baby store. Each time, I left with several photos featuring my sweet girl in multiple poses. I also remember countless attempts at getting her smile. Holding toys up in front of her, squealing and talking in the sing-song voice us mamas do — even tickles. Most of the time, we got that coveted smile (and a few times we got tears). But as she grew, getting her to smile became as easy as uttering two magic words — “say cheese.”

I’m not sure when it happens; when our littles figure out our request for “cheese” is a request for a smile. But when it does happen, it’s pure magic. Every time.

And despite loving the “natural” and candid shots that capture childhood, there is something special about a photo of your toddler giving you “all they’ve got” with their toothy grin.

Her smile brings me back — it reins me in and helps me put things into perspective. It is a reminder to choose joy. To choose to smile even in the midst of a trying season or a tough day. Because there’s also magic in the creases that adorn our faces when we smile — and when your face smiles, most often the heart follows.

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