Substance and Soul

Behind the smile

BloggingSamantha WetterholmComment

(photo by Emma)

As I often do when I have a free moment or two, I was scrolling through my camera roll, admiring the zillion photos of my babies. A few stood out today. In the few photos where I am actually in the photo (and not behind the camera) I am smiling. 

I have a goofy grin in some, a loving serene smile in others, and a simple smirk in one or two. But mostly I'm smiling.

I am happy, don't get me wrong, especially when I am surrounded by my babies. 

But behind the smile, there is sometimes a different story. Currently, I am on day three of a rather debilitating migraine. I made it to work on Saturday morning only to have to go home after a couple hours because I was too dizzy to hold a drill. I hated inconveniencing my office and hated even more so letting my patients down who had scheduled appointments that day. Saturday passed in a blur. I felt a bit better Sunday and went to church and spent time with other families, but all the while I had a pounding behind my eyes that made me want to vomit.

And today, I am not at work because my head hurts worse than it has in years. 

I am grateful, because although infrequent (even rare) as it is for me to call in sick and spend the day recuperating, I have the option to do just that. I am grateful for childcare that can watch my babies. I am grateful for a husband with a good job for when I can't bring home my side of the paycheck.

And looking back to my own photos, I just think that in some of them I was exhausted beyond belief. In some of them my back was aching from baby wearing all day. In some I was just done pleading with my threenager to do something I asked for the millionth time. In some I had just gotten bit by a teething baby and shed a silent tear. But in all of those, I'm smiling. 

It's like I refused, either consciously or subconsciously, to document that crappy moment in photo form.

All of this makes me think of what is behind the smile of that photo you see. I scroll through Instagram or that carefully styled blog post and think -- why does she have it all together?? I doubt my own abilities as a mother, homemaker, professional, wife. I see that serene image and wonder why my own life feels so chaotic. 

But we all must look past the smiles sometimes. To relate on that other level. To know, because I do the same exact thing, that she selected that photo to post for a reason. And that for every picturesque photo we see, there is much more going on behind that smile and just out of the camera's view.

Look behind that smile. It's good for the soul.