Yesterday I was stopped at a red light as I waited to turn into Target. I had a hundred “to-do’s” in my head in preparation for Chanukah and a party I’m hosting on Sunday night. I was feeling overwhelmed (as I normally do as I’m about to enter the land of Target) and all of a sudden I felt a pounding beat overcome my body. My car started bouncing a bit, and I turned to look towards where the beat was coming from to see the car stopped next to me jumping on its own tires. The music in this car next to me was so incredibly loud, that literally, I could feel it in my bones. My first thought was how the hell the woman driving the car could possibly STAND the decibel level of her music and then I noticed that she was seriously JAMMING to the music. I don’t mean bopping her head back and forth or playing the pretend drums on her steering wheel. I mean arms over her head, punching the air above her, thrusting her hips (or so it looked from my vantage point), shaking her shoulders and most likely kicking her feet on the floor below her. Her eyes were mostly shut as she “felt” the music melt into her skin. And she had a smile plastered across her face. Happiness. I could feel her happiness from the next car over. I looked in my rear view mirror to glance at Luke and before his little face came into focus I saw his arms out in front of him moving to the beat and a wide grin spreading over his face. He was feeling the “happy” too. She must have felt me staring at her, gulping down her joy, because she looked over at me and without for a second stopping her dance moves, but instead adding this move to the choreography, she waved. I didn’t wave back. I barely even smiled back but what I did spoke even louder. I gave her a thumbs up. “Good For You”, is what I would have said could she have heard my words through both of our closed windows and over her insanely loud music. Good for her for allowing herself to get lost in that song, forgetting anything else that may have been on her mind that day, if even for just that one song, and feeling such obvious happiness. Who knows if when the next song came on she snapped into a snarly mood. But I doubt it. She radiated so much joy in the minute that I was in her presence to last days. And when we drove off in our separate ways, and I was left in my quiet car, without ANY music playing, just the noise in my head, I decided right there and then, that I need to find more little ways to bring little smiles to my face. I let myself get consumed by the minutia. So if I can get so many tiny things bring me down, I should be able to let the little things raise me up. I guess it goes back AGAIN to living in the moment, grasping onto the present and cherishing it.
I just got home from Luke’s gym class. A class where he more or less gets to run around for 50 minutes playing with balls, climbing ladders, and crawling through tunnels (although the “coaches” like to describe these activities as learning to throw, hiking up a mountain and going on a cave adventure… blah blah). It’s his only “social” activity in his week and although I like that he has this activity, I often look at my watch, wishing the minutes to pass so that I can get on with my day. But today, I decided to immerse myself in it. To live through Luke and the joy he portrays in each of the little activities. At one point the coach pulled together a dozen or so beach towels, put on reggae music and turned on a huge bubble machine. Hundreds of bubbles were pumping out from high above the kids as they held beach buckets up in the air trying to catch the bubbles. At least the OTHER kids did. Luke, however, stood in the middle of the beach blankets, head cocked up toward the ceiling with his eyes closed and hands by his sides as the bubbles floated down and popped on his face. With each bubble that landed on his nose, cheeks, eyes, and hair he squealed with surprise and delight. Every ten or so bubbles he’d look over at me and smile. Happiness. It reminded me of the days at camp where it would be pouring rain and we’d all stand outside our cabins and feel the warm rain soak our skin. Or when I was even littler and I’d go out in a blizzard and I’d stick my tongue out as far as it would go catching the soft snowflakes in the cold. The little things. The happy moments.
I have to let my kids reintroduce me to these moments. Without their innocence, I’m afraid I might miss them. I am certain I would not hear the airplane flying overhead unless I had Luke by my side jumping up and down pointing to the sky in amazement. I would take the butterfly sitting on a flower for granted unless I had Hannah chasing after it asking when it stopped being a caterpillar. Who knows if I’d hear the birds chirping without waking up to hear Luke sitting in his crib saying “cheep! cheep!” I wish I didn’t have to work so hard to find these little things on my own. Hundreds of them are right in front of me every day. I just have to push aside some of the “life clutter” to see them.
But again, I am promising myself that I will.