One of my favorite family traditions has to do with travel. Ever since my son was about 3 years old my husband and I decided our family would travel together over the holidays. We always knew it would be a special way to connect and make memories.
Last week was Thanksgiving and our holiday travel tradition continued for it's 11th year as we celebrated in Puerto Rico.
Would you believe me if I told you that for the first time ever our trip almost didn't happen?
I want to tell you that this year has been full of so many ups and downs, obstacles and more than I even care to admit.
This was the year that the career I depended on for the past 13 years unexpectedly fell apart.
Now don't get me wrong, this year brought plenty of good things into my life, but it was the first year there was a lot of uncertainty behind my smile. This is something I wasn't used to. I didn't realize how much so until my whole family noticed and commented during our trip about the way I smiled and laughed genuinely, without hesitation or caution.
Since I often share so many other positive things about my life, I decided I need to share the truth behind my smile recently.
I smile even though many times I don't feel like I belong.
I smile even though many days the weight and responsibility of adulthood almost feels too heavy to carry.
I smile to hide the fact that I often feel like I am not being the best mother I can be to my kids.
I smile although it breaks my heart to see how fast my kids are growing up and spreading their wings more and more each day.
I smile even when I want to scream when watching how my daughter's anxiety stops her from doing things she loves.
I smile when my friendship towards others isn't valued the same way I value them.
I smile during the holidays behind the pain of having family problems that keep us apart, but always incredibly grateful for my immediate family, including my son's father.
I smile because no matter what may be going on in mine or someone else's life, I want people to know they are unique, loved, appreciated and deserve to smile. I continue smiling because you never know who might need it more than me.