Welcome to Text-as: The Elusive Teen Smile

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.


November 15, 2013 at 10:38 am

My teen boy, who usually scowls, sent me a text the other day that had an “I love you too” on it. It made my heart skip a beat, and made me smile. I had to think he was smiling in his bedroom as he sent it, at least in his heart. Thanks for this simple reminder!
Brenda L. Yoder recently posted..Dee’s Story of Mental IllnessMy Profile

November 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I remember being awful to my parents and now I have the most awful pictures to prove my awfulness. It’s a shame, really. I wouldn’t smile at my parents for the life of me. And yet, in public or at my job, I smiled all the time. I’m sure my cosmic payback is going to be, well, awful. And I get loving the text – I love the “the bus is almost to our street, will you please pick me up?” because I get to see him and he’s always smiling since he doesn’t have to walk (but it’s really just because he loves me, right?!)
Stephanie recently posted..Figuring Out My WhyMy Profile

November 13, 2013 at 11:17 am

It’s hard to catch my oldest son in a smile, but when I do see him laughing or smiling about something, it always makes me smile too.
Michelle recently posted..A Sense of Fair PlayMy Profile

November 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm

When I think of all the things I put my mother through! I was the worst teenager. I think all I did was roll my eyes.
Colleen @ MommieDaze recently posted..What My Dog Taught Me About Being There for People on the Bad DaysMy Profile

November 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

What’s funny is that I was a smiley teen! It was because I suffered years of dental injustice from retainers to spacers to braces for three years back to retainers. When I was 15, all of that junk was removed, at least during the non-overnight hours, and I didn’t stop smiling…ever. It still never gets old.
However as a photographer, when I wind up giving parents professional photos of their teens smiling, they always think I’m a wizard.
Tamara recently posted..Love Share.My Profile

November 11, 2013 at 9:50 am

Thanks, Seana!! Comfort in numbers 😉
Kristen Daukas recently posted..Welcome to Text-as: The Elusive Teen SmileMy Profile

November 11, 2013 at 8:54 am

All I can say is, I totally relate.
Seana Turner recently posted..Handling Holiday CardsMy Profile

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