One of my daughters has lost her smile. Her smile that normally lights up a room, has disappeared. Exams? Friends? Me? I don’t know why. I can only guess and ask and be told that she doesn’t know.
The absence of her smile has shut me out, when normally she draws me in with her quick wit and insightful comments, that pick out the funny side of life.
I know that it is temporary, but as a mum, it still hurts.
It makes me think about all those parents who must face a child every day who has lost their smile. The agony that it causes the parents who try to reach out to that child, but who are constantly pushed away. The anguish they must feel for their child, who is unable to express why they have lost their smile. Or, perhaps the reason is painfully clear, yet the help isn’t there to find it.
Mental health issues among young people are rising. 1 in 4 young people in the UK experience suicidal thoughts. As a mum, I find this terrifying. It plays on my mind daily. I admit, it scares me.
I know that my daughter’s smile will come back, but for those mums who aren’t sure, my heart feels heavy.
You’ve lost your smile.
I asked you where it was,
You didn’t know.
I asked again – too soon.
You got annoyed,
But it wasn’t a demand –
It was a care.
I suggested that we search for it
You physically recoiled
And instead you forced a smile
On to your face
Which made me cry.
I can’t even bribe your smile back
With promises of chocolate and Netflix.
A mum can give hugs,
Wipe tears, stick a plaster on a wound
But only you can find your smile.