The Lost Smile

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 shrugged.
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
Together.
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
And listen,
But only you can find your smile.

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8 thoughts on “The Lost Smile”

  1. I wish when I was younger I had someone looking out for me like you. I too had ‘lost my smile’. It turned out to be a deep depression. It must be hurtful to see someone so sad. I hope your daughter will be alright. #ablogginggoodtime

    1. What a lovely thing to say – thank you. I’m sure once her exams are over she will be fine, but depression as you experienced it is such a horrible, lonely thing. Thank you for your comments.

  2. Enough. Stop worrying. She’s probably got some cabbage stuck in her teeth and is embarrassed in case anyone sees it.

  3. Oh this made me fill up. Such a beautiful post which addresses a very important issue. I am a fixer, I like to think I can fix the problems of everyone and this aspect of parenting is one I find really difficult to deal with because no, you can’t fix a smile it is very difficult to change a feeling/behaviour. I really feel this as the mum of an autistic son too as he finds it extremely difficult to explain what is wrong! I loved this thank you for sharing it with us at #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. I’m a fixer too, which gets me into trouble with this daughter, as it means I question. The others don’t seem to mind!

  4. Oh this made me tearful – I’m going through similar with one daughter – I can’t write about it yet but it breaks me and we are trying so hard to be the best parents we can. Mental heath is a real issue but help is out there and we must stop thunking that we are experts in everything – I’ve come to realise that I don’t know the answer to everything teen – I wish I did. Hope you find the smile lovely #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Isn’t it gut wrenching to see your child suffering, in any way at all. Whether it is bullying, image issues and any other issue that adversely affects their mental health. The hardest part is when they shut you out and you no longer feel quite connected. I’m sure with my daughter it is exam stress – I used to get very badly affected by this and I thought that one of four was bound to take after me – which makes it even harder to deal with. I hope your daughter and you get through this difficult time x

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