This evening, while a lively Irish jig blared out of my iPhone, my son and I danced. We stomped and jumped and wriggled and hopped, careening back and forth in the space between our kitchen cabinets. I tried out a bit of fancy footwork, remembering steps I learned long ago in college. He did lots of arms wriggles and head banging. Eventually, he grabbed Lambie, his beloved stuffed lamb, and somehow the three of us danced in a circle, hands and paws connected, twirling round and round until we all collapsed, plop, onto the linoleum floor.
He and I have been sharing a cold for the past week, so it was nice to share something a bit more enjoyable. Within a minute of landing on the floor, his giggles gave way to a cough and I had to get up to blow my nose, but no matter. We were happy.
These days, finding moments when both my son and I can be happy – together — can be a bit elusive. He’s happy when he gets to splash me in the tub. I’m not. I’m happy when I can get him strapped into his high chair. He’s not. He’s happy when he dumps his toy basket and plastic parts go skittering across the floorboards. I’m not. I’m happy when I can get us out the door to go grocery shopping. He’s not.
It’s a tough business, this parenting gig. A toddler laughs and screams, cuddles and pushes, with amazing and alarming rapidity. Some days are so much fun, days when he’s brimming with exuberance over the joys of trying out his new bike or feeling the kiss of sunshine on his neck after a week of rain. Other days are simply gotten through, days when he yells because his blue shirt isn’t green and cries at the mere mention of being asked to consume food of any kind.
That was the situation the other night. He was supposed to be eating dinner, a miniscule handful of crab fried rice, a meal he has gobbled up on other evenings. On this night, he shoved his plate away, demanded ‘Applesauce!’ and stalwartly refused every effort on my part to get him to take even a nibble. After ten minutes, I cracked, and began offering alternatives. Cheese? No! Hummus? No! The only thing he wanted was ‘Applesauce!’
My temper running short, I yanked out the dining room chair next to him, sat down, and dropped my chin to the table, staring him down. Delighted, he thought we were playing a game. He, too, dropped his chin and stared me down, only his face was lit up with amusement. He looked so happy; I couldn’t help but smile back. He popped up, cried “Chin up!” and I popped up, too. “Chin down!” he yelled, and we dropped together. A few more rounds, and I grabbed my phone, stuck my arm out, and took a few pictures of our face off. He got his way, eating applesauce, but sometimes, you’ve just got to give in.
There are good times and bad times in any job. I’m trying my best to really be grateful for the happy moments that pop up in my current profession. For when the wee one puts his Easter bucket on his head, calls it a helmet, and tells me he’s ready to play baseball. For when he crawls into my lap, clutching a book, and snuggles in for a story. For when he beckons to me from the dance floor of our kitchen, flashes his radiant smile, and says “Dance, Mommy! Dance!”
Any happy moments in your lives lately? I’d love to hear about them.