One thing I love about having kids is the crazy, inexplicable way they have of suddenly make you care. Maybe its the constant loss of sleep/loss of brain cells. Maybe it’s the inevitable maturing that having children requires. Or maybe, it’s the fact that suddenly you’re thinking about someone other than yourself all the time, and what matters to them, suddenly matters to you.
I’m not really sure why, or how, but suddenly I’ve found myself caring about a whole slew of things that I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed for before children. Literally.
Memorial Day is the perfect example. It’s not that I’m not patriotic, but I genuinely dislike most patriotic celebrations. Parades and fireworks are waaaay up on my list of things I don’t enjoy. Again, it has nothing to do with patriotism or celebrating our freedom. Instead, it has everything, and I mean everything, to do with gathering in large crowds to watch and listen to large and incredibly noisy spectacles. I particularly dislike being in a crowd of firework watchers and taking my eye off the display to notice that I’m literally surrounded by a sea of people. It’s my worst nightmare, people.
And yet, this morning, bright and early, I was up with the hubs getting the boys ready to go to our town’s Memorial Day parade. Not just to watch, but to participate! We had decked out Theo’s bike with red-white-and-blue sparkly things and had entered him to ride in the parade. Not only that, but as I stood on the sidewalk and watched the festivities and saw my little guy riding down the road on his tricycle, I really got into the whole thing. I felt the combined emotions of pride and community and…yea, I’m going to say it, fun. At 8 AM in the morning!!!
There could only be one of two explanations for such feelings in a card carrying, parade hating, morning despiser like me: I was either having a complete emotional and mental breakdown, or I was a mom.
Motherhood has a way of making you do things you said you’d never do, of enjoying things you previously hated, and of generally participating in things that, as a person without kids, you would never have dreamt of partaking in…and actually kinda enjoying it.
I had a similar experience just the night before. We had friends over for dinner and while eating out on the patio, we saw a group was getting ready to launch a hot air balloon. Before long, we were all out in the field watching the balloon be stretched out, set up, and launched into the air. We smiled, we pointed, we took pictures.
Hot air balloons land squarely in the list of things I wouldn’t have cared about before kids. I wouldn’t have bothered to stop what I was doing to go watch someone else do something. That would have been boring. But that’s exactly what is so wonderful about allowing your children to change you just a teensy bit.
Kids, instinctively, are joineers. Participaters. Certified Life-Enjoyers. They will drop what they are doing to look at the simplest thing and be absolutely delighted by it. They will stop to say hello to every puppy. They will join every group activity. They are charmed by life, and life, in return, looks a heck of a lot more charming them to them than it does to the average adult.
Here’s to simple pleasures, to little wonders, and the kids who reveal them to us every day.