I found myself sifting through old Easter pictures this week. It’s not surprising really. I often find myself looking back when holidays roll around. This is one of my favorite Easter pictures. I keep a copy on my desk. My daughter was three in this picture and the youngest of a herd of kids at my sister’s house for the holiday. My sister always put on amazing holiday feasts and welcomed family and friends to her home. On this particular Easter, she filled a rainbow of plastic eggs with chocolates and hid them all around her yard. They filled six baskets in the end. With a little help from her older cousins, my daughter had a full basket to herself. She chased the older kids around and they were so sweet to help her find the eggs. In the end, she was completely bushed. She crouched down in the middle of the driveway holding her chubby little cheeks up in both hands and waited for the day to end.
No More Candy: Easter 2003
(1/500 sec., f/9, 100 ISO, 20.3 mm)
As I sorted through the pictures though, I was reminded of what an adventure it is to have a three-year-old. They are so unguarded. They just feel. And they let you know in so many ways what they are feeling. That day, she went through every possible mood and I captured them all. What was astounding though was that every change in mood was punctuated with joy. She giggled and laughed. She chased the other kids and ran with glee when they chased her. She bubbled when her cousin let her play with her dolls. She glowed when they took her hand. When one found an egg, he made it seem like a big glorious discovery and she squealed. When she ate, she chomped away like it was the best thing she ever ate. She did everything with joy. Oh sure, she cried that day. She scowled that day. I was pretty sure she might even get sick that day. But in between were priceless moments of unadulterated joy.
(1/250 sec., f/10, 100 ISO, 24 mm)
I think sometimes, as adults, we forget to revel in the joy of the moment. I don’t mean the big moments- like births and weddings and birthdays. Those are definitely joyful. I mean connecting with joyful moments as often as we can. (You know you are doing this enough, by the way, if your teenager finds you just a little embarrassing.) Sometimes you have to work joy into your life. Sometimes it just appears. Every spring when I take the top off my Jeep, no matter how cold it is, I go for a long drive with the music up loud and get an ice cream cone. It’s might seem silly. But I love that feeling of wind in my hair and a soundtrack made just for me. It makes me feel young and free- even if it is only for 50 miles. It is extra joyful when my daughter joins me. I like getting up in early in the morning, cranking up the tunes and working out- pure joy. I am filled with joy when my teenager comes in at the end of the day to tell me all about her’s- yup simple joy. I love getting up at the crack of dawn with my husband and driving into the mountains. Uninterrupted, easy conversation with the man I have loved for 34 years- pure joy. Sitting by the firepit with friends and family. Tackling a really complicated job. Spending a couple of hours catching up with my friends. Creating something beautiful. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Sometimes as adults, we get bogged down in all of our responsibilities, plans, and schedules. We forget to be present. That is when we miss the joy. There are ups and downs certainly. In fact, 2018 has been a struggle so far in our house. But the truth is that in between all of those little challenges, we have had a lot of joy. I am glad I did not miss it. I hope you will stop and feel the joy.