There is little more precious than experiencing joy through the eyes of a child. It adds more than happiness, another layer of contentment.
However, this week, I experienced the phenomenon on a different level. And this level requires a new word.
Thinking back to when my kids were young, several events come to mind. Times I was able to see and feel their joy. Viewing star clusters and planets through Uncle Larry’s high-powered telescope. Fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. Their first time to experience snow.
I can picture them all bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves. Red glowing on their little faces. Also, of course, the plastic grocery bags covering their feet. The kids still chuckle at that one. I like to think of it as being resourceful. We did not get snow often enough for snow boots. 😉
Just this week, we had our first significant snowfall in seven years. Many little kids were building snowmen and sledding down neighborhood hills for the very first time! However, it was the reaction of a young adult, two actually, that caught my attention.
My daughter’s boyfriend, Mike, happened to be visiting when the snow arrived. Rachel has experienced snow. Mike had only experienced it one time when he was two years old and had very little memory. This was like his first snowfall. At least, that is what his reaction said.
Seeing that white powder outside turned him into a little kid once again. Excited, bundled up, and ready to explore. Such happiness and joy! Not to mention wet clothes from immediately falling into the snow to make a snow angel.
Yet, this is not the joy requiring a new word. No, this has more to do with being a parent, witnessing your own children’s reactions to others. I felt it as I read Rachel’s tweet later that same day.
“In the midst of an incredibly trying year, watching Mike experience snow for the first time in his life brought me so much joy today.” ❤
Rachel is a high school special education teacher in her second year. She is beginning her long-planned-for career during a global pandemic. “Incredibly trying” is putting it mildly, but she is doing amazing things despite the situation.
Something about her reaction struck my core as a parent. Hearing her describe her own joy over watching Mike play in the snow was powerful. Knowing that she recognized how magical such a simple thing can be…made me feel?
Well, here we are again. I still need a new word. For this is more profound than joy and greater than pride. I will continue searching while this feeling plants itself deep in my heart.