Beneath the Smiles

cropped-2016dominguez-62.jpgI recently posted our family photos to Facebook. It was amusing to read the comments of our friends and family. Some were astounded by our photogenic qualities and shared a desire to be more like us. Those comments produced much laughter within our home.

Considering the fact that authenticity is my way to go (often times to a fault), sleep will continue to escape me if I don’t let you know what was really going on the day we posed for these pictures! Truly, smiles can be hatched when standing before a camera. Smiles are what we all know how to do well. No one really wants anyone to know the truth of what lies beneath the smile.

Ruben and I had a very heated discussion on our way home from church that day. “I told you we had to leave early, now the photographer has been waiting for us, I need to make lunch and get ready for our photo shoot!” I guess you can tell that I was not a happy camper!

“Well, we were sitting on the front row of a televised service! We weren’t getting up in the middle of the message. I told you to sit in the back, but you didn’t want to listen!” Now imagine that with a cute thick accent and lots of hand movements while driving.

“You know that I don’t like to sit in the back! We could’ve walked out when the cameras weren’t facing us!” Okay, so I was hungry and delirious at this point!

“Vicki,” that cute accent again, “calm down. It will be okay.”

I was really flipped-out at this point, “That’s easy for you to say! I have to make lunch and get ready and make sure that the rest of you look good too! Can I just order pizza?”

“No way!” The fury transferred from my seat to his as he referred to the message we just heard at church, “We are not spending any money! Were you listening to the message this morning? Was pizza planned into our budget for today? No, it wasn’t, so no pizza!” Then he went on to tell me about all of the leftovers in the fridge and of the bread and lunch meat that we could have for lunch.

I told him to figure out lunch and that I would get myself ready for the pictures. His agitation was clearly acknowledged by my heart and it made me livid! 

I stormed into the house, “Mom, you’re late!” I guess Selina thought my phone wasn’t working and I couldn’t see all of her texts. I didn’t respond with my mouth, but in my mind I said, “Shut up!”

The guys fought over the color shirts they would wear. I didn’t see the hair cuts that I told them all to get! Someone bought Jojo a short sleeve shirt and not the long sleeve one that I wanted! John and Ashley had a meeting to attend, so we had to rush and everyone was upset because they expected pizza but dad was making them all prepare sandwiches! And in the midst of all of the frustration, I had to move heaven and earth to get the twins to wear the same color!

I slid on my new dress that my girls convinced me to purchase. I felt huge in that dress and funny feeling with those little boots! But, oh well-it was what I had, so here we go!

We walked across the street to the lake and argued over where we would stand! At a certain point our photographer told us all to shut up and to focus! She is our friend, she can do that! 

During the photo shoot, she didn’t just tell me to hug Ruben. She said things like, “Hug him as if he makes you feel safe.” Things like, “Walk towards one another and tell each other why you love one another.”

I said, “This is not marriage counseling, this is a photo shoot.”

She smiled in her strong, bossy way and said, “Just do it.”

I obeyed, thus “picture day” refined my attitude!15068439_10210595291539411_2572721016275295681_o

Listen friends, we are just as normal as everyone else. We disagree in our home. We don’t always like being together. We sometimes need separate space. We are not always smiling!

I know we took really nice pictures and that most of us are photogenic, but below the surface of those pretty smiles lie many reasons to forgive; lots of chances to believe and whole lot of hope.

Our love has lasted because we understand that love  is a choice. Love isn’t an emotion or a thing to do when we feel like it. Love is an action that occurs when your heart is pierced to the core. Love arises when those you love the most hurt you the most.

Love is an energy that flows despite the opposing current.

Our family is so far from perfect. We’ve fallen. We’ve hurt.

Our imperfection only gives our Perfect Father the ability to shine. His perfect love keeps us together. His perfection keeps us strong.

Our smiles reflect Him. Our pretty faces belong to His ability to resurrect us. There have been times when I didn’t think that we would make it, but Love kicked in!

Love reigns in our abode.

Love gives us what we need to forgive and to move on.

Love enables us to believe in one another again. Over and over and over again.

Love helps to make us stand when we’ve knocked the other down.

Love raises us up out of our failures.

So, come out of your isolation and tell your truth.  Why is it so hard to just say what hurt or to express what you think? I guess the answer lies within each of us. Once we are willing to deal with the truth of ourselves, we open the door to allow others in.

Enjoy our photos; but most of all, relish in the goodness of the one who enables us to smile.


6 thoughts on “Beneath the Smiles”

  1. Love this! Thanks for transparency and honesty. Been there, done this for a family photo, too.

    NO matter you still look beautiful……inside and out. Especially the kids……hey, it skips a generation you know. Right, Roz?


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