By Published On: November 13th, 2014

Who doesn’t enjoy a good smile? A smile signifies joy […]

Who doesn’t enjoy a good smile? A smile signifies joy and happiness. It allows the sender to say to the receiver, “Hey, I’m glad to see you,” except that no words are necessary. That’s a good thing because our 10-week-old baby doesn’t have any words. And yet, he’s able to say so much when he smiles.
The recent advent of his smile has been a special encouragement to me as a dad. It has shown me that he recognizes me, knows me and appreciates me. There can be little doubt that he recognizes, knows and appreciates his mother—because those two have been together from the beginning. She also has the advantage of smelling like milk. For the past several weeks, I would hold him and tickle him with no discernible indication from him that he even knew who I was. But his newfound skill of smiling changed all of that.
Now, when I walk into the room and approach him, he flashes a smile at me before I can even touch him. He knows me. He knows I will take care of him. Apparently, he also thinks I’m funny. With little more than a shift of my eyebrows and a tickle on his nose, I can cause him to gasp in some air and let out a squeaky laugh that sounds like a choking parakeet.
These moments of recognition and joy and laughter are so precious to me. They remind me that he is not just a baby, but he is my son. I delight in him and find great pleasure in being near him. Raising a child is not all about diaper changes and midnight feedings. Those things will quickly fade from memory, but the moments of sheer delight in my child and the simple joys we share together will remain for a lifetime. Smiles make it easy to see how the work of parenting is worthwhile. It’s not worth it because it will pay off someday. It’s paying off right now. Each little smile and giggle more than compensates for the fleeting feelings of drudgery or misery during the midnight cry sessions.
His smiles bring joy. The joy is contagious. Everyone in our family smiles when our little guy smiles. No one can resist his charms. It feels so good to be smiled at and to smile back. It is often said that infants are helpless. On the contrary, they are helpful in perhaps the most important way. They bring joy to our lives, and we delight in our children. Oh, the power of a smile!