I am listening to All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood right now. I’ll review the book next week, but it’s an interesting commentary on the effects of children on parents. The book has me thinking about what I enjoy about being a mother. I think it boils down to four things:
- Experience a love more intense than I ever thought possible.
- Seeing nature vs. nurture in work. Learning about myself and what traits I have that are inherent and what I may have learned from my parents or the environment in which I grew up.
- Seeing my son learn things about the world. How it works. His place in it.
- Watching the joy my son feels when he experiences something – new or old. Nothing makes me that happy anymore, not even a good book.
Sunday was the first day of spring, the sun was shining, and we as a family decided to spend some time outside doing one of the things we love: hiking! After a little debate we decided to head to Grant Park in South Milwaukee, a park that Jim spent a lot of time in when he was a child.
When we arrived at the park, Jim parked on the road along side Oak Creek instead of parking at one of the trail heads that we’ve hiked many times before. We found a path along the creek and just started to explore. Right away we found an old stone wall that jutted out into the creek, and Christopher was overjoyed. He and I walked to the end and back. Nothing fancy. But it made him so happy!
When we got back to the dirt path, Christopher took off. He’s always the leader when we’re hiking. He doesn’t want to stop and observe nature, much to Jim’s dismay. He just wants to explore! To go to new places, make decisions about which path to take, and to climb to new heights.
This particular path allowed us to go up and down many hills. We even ventured off the path at one point and climbed a really steep slope that landed us near the golf course. We then commenced a 10 minute search for lost golf balls. We found white ones, yellow ones, and even a pink one! Christopher stuffed his pockets with balls and refused to leave them behind. He valued keeping those balls safe in his sweatshirt pockets even higher than trying not to fall as we inevitably had to navigate our way back down that crazy steep slope. (Luckily, I was there to hold his arm and keep him from tumbling down the hill.)
Those balls came home with us. All 14 of them. That’s joy, people. And for a small period of time, I experienced it too. Just by watching Christopher experience it. For that 1.5 hours, it didn’t matter than Jim was mad at me over a fight we’d had the night before or that I had a million things I needed to get done that day. We were in the woods, in the sunshine, experiencing nature as a family.
Hello, spring. I’m so glad you’re back.
What do you like about being a parent? How do you experience joy? Did you do anything special to welcome spring?