The Elusive Smile of a Teen

Do you remember a certain Royal Caribbean commercial from a few years ago? It was a funny texts from my familyfamily on vacation and the mom is talking about all the fun things that they were doing and then she mentioned the “rare and elusive” smile of a teen. I tried to find the video but the best I could come up with was the text..

“We’ve come to the Caribbean in search of something this family rarely sees. I’ve heard rumors it still exists, but I don’t know. We’ve tried everything to coax it out into the open.” 

At this point, the camera focuses on the daughter, who’s cracking a smile. “Wait, there it is. She’s actually smiling.” But as soon as the daughter sees she’s being watched, she frowns and rides off on a jet ski. “And then it’s gone in a flash.” 

I used to laugh at that commercial every time I saw it.

I don’t laugh about it anymore because I realize now that the teen smile IS a rare and elusive thing.. at least a smile that is directed at parents. You think you used to do crazy things to get your kids to stop crying and smile when they were babies? Wait until they’re teens. Trust me, you will slap on clown-white makeup, a red nose and an orange wig if it means you can get your teen to smile. Or you could save your clown face and just take them shopping. That’s usually the quickest way to find a smile especially if your teen is a girl.

M and I had a bit of a “moment” this weekend when I let her know that I really did miss spending time with her and while I understand that spending time with her friends is the most important thing at her age, it would be nice if she’d do me the same favor every now and then. And so we did.. we went shopping but it wasn’t the normal “can I have, can you buy” shop that I’m usually forced to endure. It was errand shopping.. groceries, drug store… you know – boring, mundane stuff. We laughed and she smiled.. and it was a real smile. The kind of smile that used to melt me to a puddle when she was little. If you know of a better sound than the sound of your own kid’s laughter – no matter their age – I’d love to hear what it is.

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I was sitting here tonight, minding my own business when I got this text. Friends, compared to the texts that I usually get, this kind of text is pure gold in my world…


I don’t care if she was riding the wave of “I finally got my birthday money iPhone” euphoria. I’ll take a text like that any day 🙂 I just hope that from now on, I get to hear the laughter and see the ever-elusive smile more often than not.