Remember the Joy?
I picked my daughter (2.5) up from daycare yesterday and it started to rain on the way home. Instinctively I got irritated thinking about getting us home safe, in the house without getting totally soaked, and I could feel my heart rate increasing at just those thoughts. I looked in the rearview mirror and she was smiling so big saying "Mommy, it's raining! We can jump in puddles." I'm smiling back at her, but in my mind, I am like "no way sister. We need to get into the house and get dinner started." She smiled the whole way home singing "Rain rain go away..." and using everyone she knew as the main character in the song. I managed to distract her some and get her into the house without her asking to jump in the puddles. "Success," I thought to myself. Once we were inside and I closed my umbrella she turned to me with the sweetest look and said "Mommy. Can we get my umbrella and stand out in the rain?" That was honestly the last thing I wanted to do but sensed how very important this small task was for her. "Sure baby. Let's get your umbrella and go outside for a little bit." That was followed up with a huge smile and a dash to the closet where her umbrella was, not to mention this incredibly large smile appeared on her face and never went away.
We grabbed our gear and headed outside into the torrential downpour taking place at that moment. She opened her umbrella like a pro and stepped out into the rain as fearless as possible heading for the largest puddle she saw. She got to it, looked back at me with the "Can I mom?" face. I smiled and said, "You jump right in that puddle baby," and that is exactly what she did. With every ounce of strength she had, she jumped up and landed in that puddle so fiercely splashing water all over the place, soaking herself in the process, and giggling the whole time while turning back to make sure I was watching. I was. I wasn't on my phone, I wasn't thinking about dinner, or how dirty/wet she was going to be. I was watching her in that present moment enjoy being 2.5 years old with the coolest mom on the block. It was in the moment I was reminded of all of the joy in our lives that we are too busy to notice, or too preoccupied with "tasks" to get involved in. Letting go of everything yesterday to enjoy this moment with my daughter did more for me than I possibly could have imagined. Her heart was so full, as was mine.
It started to thunder and we decided to call it a day. We got into the house, took off our shoes, closed our umbrellas, and shook off the rain. When we got upstairs and started to dry off I noticed how much I was smiling. She even asked me "what is so funny mommy?" I told her it was nothing, and that I had fun. She in turn gave me a huge toddler hug (arm around the neck, head butting kind of hug) kissed my face and told me how much she loved me. She spent the next 5 minutes singing a made-up song about loving her mommy because we jump in puddles and cuddle when it rains. She added in all of these other things we do together that I didn't even realize were significant to her (brush our teeth, use the potty, drive in the car), and kept finishing the phrase with loving mommy "sooooo much." My heart basically exploded last night, and if that wasn't enough it just weighed on my heart that as present as I think I am, and as happy as I make each day, I can be doing more to allow more joy inside.
When we got up this morning it was pouring again, and even worse than it was last night. My first instinct was "ughhhhh why?" Then I decided to change my approach and remember how excited she was going to be when she saw the rain. When we were getting dressed I told her it was raining really hard and she would have to wear her rain boots, jacket, and take her umbrella with her. She smiled as big as she could and said "I can't wait." She hustled through her morning routine, ate a big breakfast, and when it was time to go she didn't fight with me about needing "one more thing." Incredible how that little shift adjusted everyone's attitudes and expectations of the morning. She walked down the steps and said "mommy, take my picture." I did just that and we headed for the door. We got outside and I said, "Now open your umbrella and walk with mommy to the car." You would have sworn I told her we were going to Disney the way she reacted to this. She flew that umbrella open and said "Yes mommy! Here we go." We got soaked in case you were wondering. It is not possible to walk two people, two different heights, with two different umbrellas to the car in a monsoon. Guess what? Neither one of us gave a shit because we laughed and enjoyed the whole event. Once buckled inside she said, "That was fun mommy." That it was, and that was all I needed to start my day on the right foot.
We all see those memes of a little girl/boy saying that we were once little and had big dreams and not to disappoint ourselves etc. What I find more important is that we were all little once with the ability to find joy in the smallest of acts. We need to start embracing that again as adults. We live during a time where we are constantly on the go, and always available to work, side hustles, family, that we need to stop and remember to fully enjoy some of the moments we are experiencing. Dinner can wait, an email can wait, a colleague will be there later. These moments with our littles will not be here forever (ask your own parents) and they deserve our attention, our love, and our joy, to be shared with them in every one of those small moments. When you are tired and trying to rush through the bedtime routine, remember that they enjoy these moments more than we ever thought possible. Try and do the same and your perspective will change drastically. I promise.