We had some young adults visiting the other day and as I held my toddler, one guy held out his big man hand to her and she was enchanted. They were just touching fingers and my baby kept giggling with joy. The guy smiled and said, “Kids. It takes so little to make them happy.”
That really struck me. Of course, I knew immediately that he was right. But I hadn’t given it much thought. We spend a lot of time talking about how demanding raising kids is. (Probably because it’s true.) We talk about how expensive kids are. How they sap our energy (My days of not being a coffee drinker are numbered, I’m afraid.) How we want to pull out our hair by dinner time. (Okay, by lunch time.)
But now I’ve been noticing the other side: the great thing about children is their extreme joy at life’s minimalities. It really takes so little for them to be happy.
Snow. A pile of leaves. A water bottle. A rock. A hill. Music. A little sand. An imaginary friend. (Yes. Even full of happiness by something that’s not even there, not even real.)
Am I so easily charmed, so quickly brimming with laughter, so swiftly fascinated with life? (The answer is no.) Why not? (Besides the fact that if I had an imaginary friend at this point, most people would consider me crazy.) Can I get back to that state, where everything is new and amazing?
Probably not. (That state comes with tantrums, remember.) But I can appreciate that about my kids and try a little to see the world through eyes like theirs. To be satisfied with love, sleep, food, attention, and sometimes maybe just a leaf.