Children know joy in a way that adults have forgotten. Life has a way of buttoning us up. Every year we grow older we tighten the reigns on our erratic juvenile emotions. With this tempering we also suffocate our natural tendency to be joyful. Not just a friendly smile or a chuckle. I’m talking about the kind of joy that cracks you wide open so the sun shines through your smile and the laughter bubbles up like a tidal wave sweeping away anxiety and woe.
The laughing child pictured above is me.
I don’t want to lose that laughter. I don’t want to forget to be joyful. I want to remember what it felt like to swing as a child. Like flying.
Today I remembered. After a lot of frustration, a mug full of tears and a sore mamas back there was a pure moment of joy. My boy pedaled his bike all by himself…without training wheels. He tried and failed again and again and I felt sure he wanted to quit. He sobbed that he would never be able to do it. He’s sensitive to failure that way. He goes immediately to the far flung future where he can’t ever ride his bike with a friend because he will be too embarrassed of his training wheels. His little mind pictures grown up fears…being judged and found wanting. And then there it was. The moment he’d done it. He flung down the bike and turned to me. This little 6 year old package, all knobby limbs and gapped teeth. He flung his arms up and grinned and he said to me, “Mom! Remember when I said I would never be able to do it?! I DID IT!”
That was the moment. I laughed with him and felt that sunny scorch in my soul as his joy was reflected back at me.
I was mind blown at how miraculously his doubt and desperation changed to pride at so small (he’d only pedaled a few yards on his own) a step towards success. The biggest small step he could achieve. And it felt just like flying. Impossible. Until you’re up there, swinging back and forth without fear. Pedaling forward with all the wibbly wobbly determination of one kid on a bike with two wheels.