Most days I wear a variety of hats: clown, poop-checker, janitor, referee, scraped-knee-kisser, nap nazi, and fort-maker-extraordinaire. Days can be tiring, and mountains of laundry threaten to form life-threatening avalanches. (This is no attempt at getting pity from anyone, it’s just part of life at home.) Some days, I let my mental stack of hats come toppling over in a big messy heap, but some days I tell the Everest-high pile of laundry where it can stick it. Several months ago, a friend lost her small son, when he passed away in his sleep. This experience hit me in the gut, with a healthy dose of perspective. It forced me to recognize the seemingly insignificant moments that really make up life. Suddenly all the tasks I resented became gifts because they were reminders that my boys were alive and happy. Today, I ignored dirty dishes in the sink so that the boys could enjoy a milkshake and I could enjoy their giggles, free from distractions. They slurped, slid, ran, screamed, and jumped. Shortly after coming home, both boys passed out and it gave me time to reflect on all the moments I enjoyed with them today. Over the years, my definition of joy has shifted and evolved, and this is what it means to me right now. Joy is:
-a $3 strawberry shake that can put a grin, a mile wide, on your boys’ faces.
-grubby little boots, with worn out toes from endless hours of running outside.
-your two year-old running up to you at the play place, every two minutes, to say, “Hi mom!” and hug you around your legs.
-your three year-old saying “abominable snowman” over and over again, the entire way home, until he gets it just right.
-cute little toes peeking out through the feet of pajamas because someone is growing.
-your three year-old yawning and rubbing his eyes, but begging for one more story before nap time.
Those two little boys may be the source of endless dirty dishes, laundry, diapers, scraped knees, and broken toys, but the joy they provide, completely negates everything else.