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The Empty Smile

Day One

I worked all day.

I met all needs.

I smiled.

I gave small commands.

I rubbed a back that tensed.

I tried.

There were no smiles.

Day two.

I worked all day.

I met all needs.

I gave small commands.

I rubbed a back that tensed.

I held a hand that was small and soft.

I kept smiling.

I looked into eyes that looked past me.

There was a smile.

It almost seemed empty.

Did you hear me? There was a smile!

I’ll take it.

Autism. A smile that looks empty is still a smile.

Sometimes the empty smiles mean oh-so-much more.

Yesterday I told you about how much The Smile impacted my day. The baby smiled at me. You know those baby smiles. They can melt an adult into a puddle in less than three seconds. But let’s be real… babies smile at faces. They smile when they are clothed and fed. They smile when they are gassy. Oh… but those smiles!!!! To hold a little wiggly bundle and smile at the bald head and then you see it… The Smile! My heart melts at just the memory. Ok – back to the baby that day. The baby has a brother. The brother has a different kind of smile. First, the obvious, there are teeth. And a gone are the chubby cheeks. The sparkle isn’t quite the same. In fact the smile looks… empty. You see, Brother has Autism. He looks at me – without looking at me. He talks – but not with words. He smiles – but it’s faraway, almost empty. But when he smiles, oh… he smiles. It probably won’t be a big grin. It won’t come with a snuggle or hug.  He might not even acknowledge he is smiling at me. But his smile… it might not melt me into a puddle, but it is worth the moon.

Then I think… how many times are my smiles empty? (ouch)

Yes, those smiles – the ones from brother – they really do mean so-much-more.

Keep building bridges. Keep Smiling. Even when it feels empty.

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About Kimberly Vogel

I am a mom of four beautiful daughters, a writer, and a certified Early Childhood and Elementary Teacher who recently made the switch from teaching in a classroom to teaching her children at home. I am often found in the children’s area of my church where I volunteer and lead a children’s program. Writing is a natural outpouring of my love for my Savior. Follow along while I share my journey as a bridge builder with you. My prayer is that you start building bridges too!

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