When a Smile is More Than a Smile

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When Noah first started to smile (3,000 months ago), I didn't just see it as an exciting development or an adorable milestone -- I saw it as a sign of gratitude. Seeing him smile, laugh, thoroughly enjoy himself, felt like an unspoken"Thanks for letting me be here, Ma." No matter how much I heard that it would be difficult -- life-ruining, even -- to be a young mom, seeing him smile made me feel like I did the right thing. Because in that moment, he was happy.

And that feeling gets stronger with every month that goes by.

Watching Noah discover food, songs, grass, pools, summer, slides -- it's all so exciting and new and larger-than-life. I watch him watching the world, and he seems so happy just to be here. Just to hang out with mom and watch the cars drive by. Just to feel watermelon drip down his arm on a sticky summer day.

And it's painful for me to think that if I would have listened to the stigmas, the assumptions, the well-intentioned "advice" about young motherhood, he wouldn't be here. If I didn't get unintentionally pregnant at the exact moment I did, his world wouldn't exist.

And it's such a happy world -- for everyone lucky enough to see it through his eyes.

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