I’m sitting on the beach and it is raining. Not full on raining but drizzling enough to be annoying raining. And it is windy, so windy that I forget that the temperature in the car read 82 when we got in it before making the 15 minute drive to the beach. But we are here and we just unpacked his new beach toys and he’s having fun.
“Buddy” I say, cause that is what I call him these days, I know we just got here but I think we need to go it’s starting to rain.
“No it’s not” he says turning back to the toy truck and the water toy he has shoved full of sand.
“Yes it is” I say and he ignores me.
“Mom I want my snack”.
“But I think we need to head back, you can eat in the car”
“No. You said I could have my snack here” he replies not even looking away from his toys.
“But it’s raining” I say knowing the words are useless. Knowing that I’m stuck here on the beach with the wind and the drizzle and the people looking at me like I’m nuts as they pack up there things. Knowing that a little rain never hurt and I’m not made of sugar, surely we won’t melt. But still…
So I sit and watch as he spins his pinwheel and fills his dump truck with sand. And it’s easy to see how happy all of this makes him. The same way the Disney Jr Live show the night before made him smile and laugh and “a little sad” when it was over.
And as I watched him play I realized I was happy too, despite the rain and the wind all things that would generally make me unhappy, I was happy because he was happy. Because simply sitting there on the beach made him happy.
And I thought this is IT. This is what it’s all about, small things that make other people happy. Doing things you don’t always love or want to do simply because someone else does. And there is happiness in that, even in the things you don’t love like rainy days on the beach or pirates and princesses. There is happiness in their joy and their laughter.
I tried to explain this to a friend who doesn’t have kids, that while the Disney Jr Show was not particularly entertaining for me that I just enjoyed watching Jack enjoy the show. That seeing him delight in the characters was enough for me. She nodded and said, “that makes sense” and then sipped her wine and I knew it didn’t make sense.
And I’m sure that if you had told me so many years ago that things like a new episode of Mickey Mouse Club House would have me excited or that a chance to surprise someone with Disney Jr. tickets would fill me with glee or that being told “this was the best day ever” for simply letting him paint with shaving cream would make me feel happier than I had ever known, I probably would have nodded and sipped my wine too, because I didn’t know these things.
I didn’t know the type of happiness that Jack would add to my life. This great sense that there is so much more to the world than just my needs. The fact that small, simple acts like an unexpected trip to the park, make his day happier.
And I get why moms get all pinteresty. Why they plan these elaborate birthday parties and make sandwiches cut into silly shapes or go above and beyond with crafts. Because making your kid happy is kind of addicting. There are so many days where this job is tough, where i pour myself a glass of wine at the end of a long day and all I can think about it how long the next day will be. There are times when I have to be firm and tough and say no. Times when I have to enforce rules and be the bad guy, even when I don’t want to. Times when the fun part of this job isn’t always apparent.
Which is why these chances to make them happy, to be his superhero, to hear him say, “I love spending my day with you Mommy” fill me with joy. The days are long, but the years are short and even when the days are filled with activities that aren’t necessarily my variety of fun, they can still be pretty darn wonderful.