This weekend I experienced two instances of pure, unabated joy. Both involved my husband and my children, on separate occasions. I felt the unshakable urge to get them down on paper (or cyberspace) as to try to capture these moments forever aside from in my mind. In addition, I wish there was a way to preserve the snapshots in my mind and have them transferred for you all to see. Maybe my words will give you a mental picture of your own to enjoy.
On Saturday, Jess played in his second to last regular season soccer game. Another bright and early occasion, the field was the perfect backdrop for the dramatic scene being played out. Slippery with dew and messy with mud, the boys played their hearts out. We were versing the #1 team in our bracket. They were undefeated coming into our game. When I arrived (late) it was already half time and I missed a first half consisting of the other team scoring making it a simple 0-1 game. Jess played defense with a new sense of confidence and power I hadn't seen in him at the start of the season. Quite a difference for Pops and MeMe to experience since their first game visitation.
As we entered the 4th quarter (period? I still haven't done the research on this) having tied the game at one goal each, coach Bob placed Jess in goal; a position he was yet to play in a regular game aside from practice. But I assumed that coach had seen a change in Jess as well and was placing him in this all important role because he had the faith in him any child needs to become a confident and stronger person. I was amazed as I watched my usually timid son on the soccer field come out to get the ball before the other team was able to attack it again. He made great stops, we scored another goal and were leading the game 2-1 now. We had a chance to win this game. Play continued and Jess made a move to stop the ball and accidentally stepped out of the box picking up the soccer ball instead of kicking it. A no no in soccer resulting in a penalty kick. As our team lined up in front of the goal, I held my breath. The kick was lobbed high and went over Jess' head to score the tying goal. The initial disappointment was felt but everyone moved on including coach as he yelled encouraging words to Jess and the rest of the team. Time wasn't on our side and the ref blew the final whistle indicating the end of the game. We tied the first place team handing them their first non-win of the season. No bad not bad at all. As I felt a sense of disappointment that they were able to score while Jess was in the goal, I observed the other parents on the sidelines. They along with coach Bob were cheering for the boys and thrilled with the outcome. As I approached Jess, Kevin was telling him how amazing he was and how proud he was of him. Jess was elated. His pride showed on his face and I had to stop to soak in the moment. I was ashamed of myself for being embarrassed my son let the tying goal in. I should be and am proud that my normally timid and passive soccer player had stepped up and found the confidence he needs to be a part of a team and feel good about his accomplishments. Jess' joy showed me you don't always have to win to get the prize.
On Saturday evening, funny enough the same day as the soccer experience, we all went out to dinner as a family to Don Cucos. We rarely get to go out as a family on the weekend as Kevin is usually working late and we normally eat separately. Several minutes after sitting at the table, I noticed Kevin looking over my shoulder with that twinkle in his eye he only gets when he is looking at children. Whether it be his or someone else's. This time it was a sweet little girl with big eyes sitting in her high chair. She was entranced and so was he. When I turned around to look at her she didn't even notice as she was too enraptured by Kevin waving to her and having a personal conversation just between themselves. Although seeing Kevin interact with children makes me smile, I also feel somewhat sad that I wasn't in a place in life to give him more children. A third or even a fourth child would have fulfilled him even more than his two do now. I am sorry that I wasn't mentally strong enough to take that next step. No what really brought me joy was watching Samantha watch her dad. She too was intrigued by the sweet little girl but it was her daddy that brought a huge, pure smile to her face. She sat with her back against the wall just taking in her dad flirt with this little girl. I didn't see jealousy or spite that he was giving his attention to the girl instead of her. I saw my daughter taking in the moment with love and a pure innocent joy I don't see every day. I hope to never forget that smile and look in her eyes.
Can you experience joy when you don't feel it yourself? Do you overlook what's right in front of you everyday because you aren't in touch with your own happiness? Being at peace with oneself may open the door to allowing the light from these types of moments to shine in on your heart and soul. Do we see these acts when we are down and just don't appreciate them as much? Are they not joyous enough to bring us out of our darkness? Maybe it's the slightest shifts in mind and spirit that allow this change to happen. The baby steps towards finding your inner self. Discovering you do have the strength to be strong when times are hard. The motivation to follow your dreams and just do it! Tonight I did it and submitted my first five verses for Valentine's Day greeting cards! I am thrilled that I finally accomplished something I've been dreaming of for a while and although I tell myself I am just happy I did it and don't care if they are accepted or not (I'd settle for just one of them!), I am kidding myself because it does matter to me. I really want them to be accepted. I need them to be accepted to help me continue to get stronger and believe in myself. And perhaps to help me remain at peace with myself enough to see the moments of joy that happen in my life everyday.