When asked "how are you today?", most of us answer with a polite but cursory "fine, thanks". If we're feeling particularly friendly, we follow up our answer by asking the same question. We understand that this back-and-forth often takes place not because either party actually seeks a truthful answer, but because such conversations are expected of us according to societal norms.
Don't count Hallie among "most of us".
Hallie has decent manners, but when it comes to answering questions, my girl doesn't believe in polite and cursory answers. If you ask her about her day, Hallie will tell you if it was long or boring or miserable or awesome. If you ask her how she feels, Hallie will tell you if she's exhausted or frustrated or confused or overjoyed.
Since her very first moment on earth Hallie has refused to hide how she feels. When life doesn't make sense or things aren't going her way, she refuses to "smile for the camera" just because the world expects it of her. Oh, and when life doesn't make sense or things aren't going her way, Hallie also refuses to smile for the actual camera.
|This is one of my favorite pictures of these three. It sits, framed, |
on my bedside table and makes me smile every single evening.
It continues today.
|This picture may also find its way into a frame.|
But I cherish photos like those above because they capture not only what really happened, but how everyone really felt. They are undeniably genuine. (And hysterically funny.)
I hope that as Hallie grows older she continues to courageously share how she feels. As much as I love seeing her beautiful smile, I want her to show it off when her heart - and not the world - tells her to do so.
And m...a…y…b...e when I beg because she's made a silly or grumpy face in all 147 of my attempts to capture a good Christmas card photo.