It’s incredibly easy to lose the joy and wonder and newness of seeing the world and all the magical things inside of it for the first time. Each passing hour, day and year it becomes simpler and simpler to be sarcastic and weathered and calloused and just plain cynical. Let’s face it, our modern society makes it simple to be this way—there’s always a corporation polluting the water, always a politician covering up the corporation that polluted the water and always another corporation owned by a relative of the first corporation that’s ready, willing and able to clean up the pollution of the first corporation for a quick and handsome buck. See, that sentence just dripped with cynicism right? And yet, and yet you the adult reading this column identified and understood that sentence to be true. Look we’re not to blame, we’ve been scammed, we’ve been lied to, we’ve been suckered. That’s the magical thing about having a child, each experience is new, each joy unfettered, each thought the best first thought. It really is the Tao an Oriental wise man would say.
We’re nearing the end of the year and more than that we’re coming pretty close to the holidays. This is the time when most of us take stock and measure where we are and where we’re going. It’s easy to get lost in the magic of the time. The way I see it there’s no better way for a column like this. I’ve been able to be sarcastic and biting and filled with wit for 22 columns now (the knowing ones out there are saying you wrote 23 columns, that’s true, but one column was all about the wonder that is my wife.) Because of that I can spend a little time delving into the simple joy of life and how I find that joy.
To put it simply, my son is amazing. He not only is one of the simple joys of life but he experiences each new thing large and small as new and fresh, each emotion he feels is completely on the surface and raw. Take for instance last weekend, my family the family of both my brothers went to get holiday photos of the kids. After the photos were complete we went to get some lunch. The joy in Jack’s face was a wonder to behold as he dug into his desert double fisted, a fork and spoon in either hand digging into his ice cream (ice cream in the winter another joy of youth!) He never doubted that he should pick up both a fork and spoon to double the amount of time of eating, never worried how he would look to the other diners, he loved the mixture of ice cream and a hot cookie and was determined to do whatever he could to get that food into his mouth as quickly as possible. It was a joy to behold!
Also this weekend my wife and I had a party to attend at the baseball stadium and took my son. If you know me you know that it takes a lot to drag me out of my house, my poor wife most certainly suffers. You can feel the stress seep out of her body as we drive to any public event, I bitch and moan and complain—parking is always too far, I’m always going to feel like an outsider, I’m not going to like the food, what do you mean I have to pay for drinks or the flip side, see drinks are free, they’re all a bunch of drunks, yeah, she suffers a lot! Once I get to any event I’m fine after 2 minutes, but those first two minutes are always rough. This time though, something different happened that completely diffused the situation. We’re walking from the parking garage to the stadium, you can see the stress in my wife’s walk, my anxiety is palpable and yet my son, looks up, sees the blue lights on the field goals at the football stadium next door and says “Wow, mommy, daddy look at that” with simple joy and wonder. Suddenly the situation was different, we were no longer a stressed couple, we were now experiencing this moment through the eyes of my son. The simple joy in the moment was right there and all the stress, all the anxiety melted away. We went on to have an amazing night!
I could go on but at this point I’ve either made my point or I haven’t. I’m trying to say that it’s easy when you’re over the age of say 12 to lose the wonder, the joy, the simple pleasure of taking each moment and living both for it and in it. Jack does that. He knows when it’s time to pull out a fork and spoon and when to not get caught up in outside influences and just look at the lights. I’m always touched when driving and Jack will see a cloud formation and the lights prismed across them and will shout “How beautiful”. If only we could all share that simple joy and spend a little more time looking for the beauty. It’s the difference between being caught in the moment and living in the moment. That’s my two cents for the week.