My daughter knows how to have joy. Whether it’s baking, or playing the piano, or singing or just playing with the timer on her new camera (see above!) she commits to beauty and contentment.
She is strong. She does not cater to popular opinion. Bring on the Justice sparkles and the “Peace Love and Monkey” tee shirts. NO THANK YOU. She’ll sit there quietly, back straight, with crisp black Mary Janes at the ends of her perfectly crossed ballet legs. She is kind and respectful, but she accommodates no one.
This mama has been has been watching her and taking notes. She’s onto something. Why NOT commit to joy, even with my to-do list bursting? Even with demands pressing at me wherever I turn?
I’ve had this realization that while I Ebay, write my articles, consider full time work and attempt to take care of my children (at times I feel like I’m lagging on that last part) I might as well enjoy every second of it. And while you’ll never catch me baking or taking artsy pictures, I sure as hell enjoy a Costco trip. Grocery shopping and budgets be damn, I can squeeze enough laughs out of a one hour run to last me for the day.
After downing more samples than a drug addict at a cocaine-for-all buffet, I was making my way from the Rotisserie Chicken section to canned beans when I had to stop. A burly man and his wife were blocking my cart as they eyeballed the Vitamixers.
Wife: (startled) Oh, are we blocking you?
Me: Yes, you are. But it’s fine. I’m not in a hurry. (Which was true.)
Wife: (thrilled) Oh, thank you! How kind!
It was a little thing, but I could totally feel her light up from the inside over the fact that I didn’t call her a lazy ass slow poke for halting my progress.
Later on, while in line to pay, I saw the same couple next to me. The wife had just finished asking an elderly lady if she needed help lifting the 2000 pound bag of Pedigree. I suppose the wife could have been one of those predators that take advantage of needy octogenarians, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I could sniff her faith out a mile away, too, and just had to ask.
Me: I know this might sound odd, but are you a church goer?
Wife: Yes I am! How could you tell?
Me: I guess you just had a whole lot of God coming out of you. It’s nice.
Wife: You, too! Praise Jesus!
What could I say to that?
Me: Sounds good to me!
Lest any of you non-Christian readers think I’m about to get into a “Your kid’s tics will be healed if you drink the Jesus juice” rant, rest assured I’m not the Bible Thumper type. But I do love to connect with people, which is why seconds later I found myself at the coffee grinder, talking 20 minutes to man whose name turned out to be Bob. Come to find out he was also a member of the same 12 step association I belonged to. He later introduced me as a new friend to his wife, which of course I turned to and said, “Um, mam, I hate to break his anonymity, but did you know that your husband is an ALCOHOLIC?”
On the way out the door, I spoke to the transgendered item checker who, despite looking more manly than the week before, still goes by the name Krystal. She agreed that it is indeed cold outside but it’s no excuse for people to drive like mother cluckers.
On the way out the parking lot I looked the other way at the teenagers joy racing in the electric disabled carts. Why? Because I was young once, too, and their smile made me smile and that meant joy.
Later that night, I heard thump thump thump coming from upstairs. I could have gotten annoyed, but I didn’t. That was the sound of the two people I love most, having some joy with my daughter’s new camera. Apparently the timer feature is awesome for flying shots. Who can argue with that?
A few hours later, while painting my nails with my daughter, I heard more squeak squeak squeaks coming from my son’s room. I sighed deeply.
Pip: Mom, you wrote a book for other people to deal with the tics. Why don’t you read it again for yourself?
Me: You have a point, kid. I’m working on it. But I’m not perfect yet. I’m trying.
After that, despite flogging myself like I normally do for just not being over sounds that my kid can’t control, I went on painting my nails. I joked around with my daughter (who of course scolded me for the inappropriate ones. How did I give birth to Jane Eyre?) And I internally gave a quick “Thank you, God” that my kids are still here in my home, safe and sound, despite a few noises.
Thank you God, for the joyful.
Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.