American in Spain

The Elusive Smile

June 9, 2009
Attempting To Smile

When her American grandparents visited last month, they gave Nora a homework assignment to be completed by the time they visit again in August: to learn to smile in response to attention and goochi-hoochi-coo baby talk. She has taken the assignment very seriously and has been practicing ever since.

The first time I ever saw her truly smile, combined with a not-yet-laughter cooing noise, was in our hotel room in Madrid two weekends ago. I had her in my arms and was recounting the exciting morning of planes, trains, and automobiles. Her face lit up and I saw the most beautiful sight I think I've ever seen. Or at least I did for a few seconds before my smile raised my cheekbones up over my eyes and, tears welled up, and everything went blurry. Paralyzed by joy, the storytelling stopped, and eventually we eased back down off of cloud nine. Marga reports the same teary-eyed emotional paralysis and can't recall anything for those few heavenly moments either.

Naturally we've done little else than seek this high ever since. Nora, like a manipulative drug dealer with her junkies, has only given us small samples of joy ever since, but has yet to repeat the full-on high of nine days ago. What follows is an attempt I made yesterday to capture an image of The Elusive Smile.

What you're about to see will make you smile. If you've just had reconstructive facial surgery, or are in a dentist's chair, please navigate away now to something sad.

Attempting To Smile

First a close-up starting shot.

Attempting To Smile Attempting To Smile Attempting To Smile Attempting To Smile Attempting To Smile Attempting To Smile

You were warned.

Smile photographic capture status: Unattained.