There’s always that one kid who refuses to be serious for the picture. The one who, in the silence of a serious moment decides to pass the gas he’s been holding. You know the one , who always has a trick up her sleeve. You never know what to expect.
I have one of those.
He brings so much joy and life to our family in unexpected moments, often in moments we need it the most. He’ll wait until things seem stressful, awkward or quiet, and make some unholy noise that causes everyone to erupt in laughter, no matter what our mood. Or right in that quiet moment before I slip out of his room, when I lean in for one last quiet, tender kiss, and he slips his wet tongue straight in my mouth or reaches up and tickles me with both hands. He’s adventurous, daring and just plain fun.
I’m so grateful for him.
I tell him to be quiet more often than I should. I say “Calm down” way too much. I choose to let his high levels of energy grate on my nerves sometimes instead of dropping my mommy guard and joining him in the fun.
Sometimes I stifle his joy.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that this week. I used to be that kid. The one who always did the unexpected. I was the one who’d convince my friends to do something sneaky or silly or just plain foolish. Like that one time, we bought bags of extra-large bras from a thrift store and hung them all over a guy’s front yard. Oh boy.
I’ve spent a lot of years stifling my own joy.
Part of that is just life and growing up, becoming an adult. But I’ve let a lot of things creep in and cling to my heart that have kept some of that adventure and joy at bay. I’ve acted like an adult (whatever that means) instead of acting like myself.
Over the years “Crystal the Pistol” stopped showing up to parties because she didn’t feel welcome. She stopped trying to come out and play because she was trapped in this grown-up body that was always too busy, stressed or tired.
Seeing Oakley’s joy constantly reminds me, she’s still there.
I’m learning to connect with her again. I’ve been shoveling back the layers of grown-up she’s been hiding beneath, and it feels really good. I’m starting to feel like myself again. I guess this is what 40 feels like.
I wonder what that kid looks like for you.
Was she creative and bold? Was she smart and tender? Was she the life of the party? Thoughtful and strong?
Today when you find yourself being the stuffy adult you’ve become, do me a favor.
Remember, there’s always that kid.
She’s still there. Take a little time to find her.
to more love,
P.S. 2016 is the year I’m bringing back the joy. HeartStories has some exciting new twists as a result, and I can’t wait to share them with you soon! Get ready to have some fun sister.