I love September for a number of reasons. The air is different, the leaves start to change, and kids go back to school, inundating my Facebook timeline with adorable pics of all my friends’ kids. I love that part. I love seeing the faces of the kids I’ve watched grow up, many only online.
My kids were off to grades two and five this year, full of excitement over seeing who’d be in their classes, and who their teachers were. (Good news: they’re in classes with great friends and even better teachers, phew!)
They were all smiles heading out the door this year, and I’m thankful for the smooth transitions.
Their smiles mean the world to me. I love my son’s new toothless grin — he lost one of his front upper teeth and has that sweet little lisp they get when that happens. He often smiles widely for me to see the gap. My daughter has a kind, reserved smile, with those too-large adult teeth scrambling for space in her petite little face.
There are no pretences with their grins; they still smile in a way that reflects how they’re honestly feeling. Their first day of school photo reflects some anxiety, excitement, sleepiness. . . They can be shy, proud smiles, or big, goofy ones. There are the ones that are mischievous and the ones that are bored of me taking photos. Each one holds meaning.
But when do kids lose that smile? You know, the automatic reaction smile that isn’t calculated? When do they start being conscious of their faces, turning previously innocent faces into ones with brooding glares, or come hither eyes?
I don’t want it to happen.
I like that they don’t know that taking a selfie from above is more flattering. I love that they don’t smile in any other way than they always have — it’s pure reaction and reflection. I love that they don’t care about how their jawlines or cheekbones or lips look in photos.
A tight-lipped smile means something’s up, and I know we’re going to have a heart-to-heart chat. A super cheesy grin means they’re in playful moods. A straight smile is an honest one.
I love their ages. I love this mid-point between being little kids and being big kids.
Our daughter turns ten in just a couple days, and I’m so overwhelmed with feelings about this. She’s an amazing person, so unique and fun to be with. She’s everything I wish I’d been at her age, I find myself in awe of her.
I want to freeze this time of uncensored joy before life shapes the kids into the adults they’ll be.
I don’t ever want them to lose those smiles, despite knowing that in order to grow up, it’s inevitable.