Joy, befriending a manikin in Boston
My children are naturally given to enjoying life and giggling and doing loud or outlandish things and of course making messes along the way. As a mom who is busy and has an agenda, I am usually in a purposeful, intentional "get my list done," sort of mode. Two of them are great clowns and make us laugh all the time--if I am in the mood to laugh!
I remember once when I came into the living room where my children were all lounging and talking and munching on snacks and giggling together, after we had just returned home from a trip. It was really a lovely moment--and now in my mind, going back to that memory when we were all small enough to gather on one couch and laugh together, I would give a zillion just to have them here doing such a thing again. My boys always liked it when I admired their silly jokes or really looked at the books, songs, pictures, youtubes that made them laugh. It was a willingness to entering in to their worlds and a validation of their moments.
But, the house was all awry and as I walked into the house, I was taking on General Mom and putting aside "easy going" mom and my sense of humor or willingness to celebrate life.
I ignored their contented togetherness and took on my best authoritative voice. I meted out all that would need to be accomplished--bags unpacked, clothes washed, house straightened, mail sorted, rooms cleaned, groceries bought, and I was just starting.
My oldest son looked up at me and said, "Mom, don't worry, we will get it all done and then it will just get messy again and then we will get it all done again, but please just lighten up a little and enjoy a few minutes of down time. We love having you join in our revelry. We just got home and we are just having fun for a few minutes--just a few minutes."
"When you are happy, we are all happy and when you get upset, we all start feeling generally guilty. So lighten up, enjoy us, and we promise we will help you get it all done."
I took his advice. Guilt never motivates or makes my children work more effectively.
Looking at them at each stage--really looking at their quirky smiles, their unique personalities, their bizarre jokes, making time to enjoy life and finding eyes to see the small fleeting moments of each stage of life deprives me of contentment, joy and the blessing of having and enjoying these who have indeed become my best friends.
Oh how I wish I had fretted less and laughed more. I am off to look for reasons to smile and laugh and join in, amidst all of the endless work.