I made a promise to my daughter when she was born. One single promise.
I promised to her that no matter what, I would always smile when I’m around her.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to give her everything she ever wants. I don’t know if I’ll always be who she wishes I would be. But I know that I can give her the gift of always knowing that I’m happy with her. I know that I can always choose happy, for her.
There are times when I can’t smile, when I’m cranky, stressed out, exhausted. And in those times, where I just can’t do it, I ask for help, so I can take the time I need to gather myself. I step away so that I can find the joy I want showing up for her.
This past weekend my husband and I embarked upon the most massive decluttering project known to man. We’ve been debating moving for a long time and after seeing available apartments, we decided we’d stay put for the time being. Dog, baby and us, in our one bedroom apartment. We’d rather save our money and sell our place a bit down the line, perhaps in time for baby #2, whenever that blessed event might happen.
And so we spent my birthday weekend (yup, it was my bday!), painting the living room, tearing down shelves that were built into the wall, emptying closets, cabinets and trunks and donating not only bags upon bags of clothes, but large pieces of furniture and boxes upon boxes of books as well. I even got rid of some old diaries (never thought that day would come!). And then we proceeded to rearrange our entire apartment, finding a way to give the baby her very own room.
I typically declutter by emptying a shelf or two, cleaning out a drawer or cabinet, throwing away some old clothes. Gentle decluttering, easy breezy.
The decluttering and redecorating we did this past weekend was offensive, obnoxious, physical and plain ugly (that’s our bed more or less in our kitchen at one point in the picture above). All while juggling the little one.
We were exhausted. And grumpy. Honestly, I’m still feeling the effects.
Yet throughout the weekend I was reminded of my promise to my daughter. And so I kept smiling, I kept searching for the joy, in the midst of the sweat and mess.
And in that search I found myself caught in giggle attacks that were so overpowering I could no longer lift furniture. My husband had to wait them out so productivity could begin again. Fortunately, laughing is contagious.
It’s amazing what choosing to smile can do for those on the receiving end, and even more so what it does for yourself. Things start to roll off your back faster, the small stuff seems to matter less, life simply becomes happier.
I think of my promise to my daughter every day. I work on carrying through on it for her constantly. I may not always do it perfectly, but I am always mindful of it.
And I’ve come to realize something throughout these past few months of smiling so consistently…
There is no such thing as a fake smile.
Because when you smile, even if you don’t want to, it changes you. It lights you up within, releasing chemicals in your brain, changing the vibration of your cells, emitting and cultivating joy all around you.
Suddenly the physical takes over the mental. And you realize just how much control you can have over the joy in your life.
And so for my daughter, and now for myself, I choose to smile as often possible. And when she smiles back, in fits of giggles, I know the value of my promise to her, and to myself, is priceless.
Have you ever tried smiling no matter what? Do you have someone in your life that you could make this promise to? Perhaps to yourself, as you are worth it.
My birthday lunch…
The fam, a couple of months ago, at a friend’s house…
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