Do you remember the last time you felt truly amazed and enchanted by something? It took your breath away and made your skin tingle? This is one of my favorite feelings….. Like laughter through tears. But for the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I actually felt it. Is it only an experience we get to have when we are young? Do all things lose their charm and delight as we get older? Or is it us?
Let me see if I can ignite the spark in you…. So you can remember that feeling…..
FIREFLIES….. SANTA CLAUS….. SPARKLERS…… FIRE….. MAGIC….. SHOOTING STARS….. ROASTED MARSHMALLOWS….. SPRINKLERS….. LADY BUGS….. FIREWORKS….. THE OCEAN….. AIRPLANES….. BABIES….. RAINBOWS….. THE MOON….. COTTON CANDY….. PUPPIES….. LIGHTENING….. KISSING…..
Anything? Now there may be something different for you, but can you feel the pleasure? I love all of those things….. And they still bring me joy to this day, but it’s not the same.
However, one wonderful advantage of parenting is that you get to see your children experience these moments, over and over again….. It is spectacular to watch the smiles on their faces and twinkle in their eyes as they are just overwhelmed with amazement! It makes you feel so happy….. and if you are anything like me, you are constantly trying to catch those moments on camera so you have them forever….. But more than anything, I want to be able to feel that way with them.
Does that “wonder light” burn out in us as we get older? Or is it maybe just slightly dimmed and hidden back in a corner waiting for us to acknowledge it and let it shine?
I don’t really know. Do you have to travel the world? Searching out things that you have never seen before to get it? Maybe….. But that’s not feasible for me right now. So I have some ideas that may help make that light a little brighter. Or at the very least, help us too serious and not so fun anymore adults, find some more enjoyment out of life!
- Play with your kids – And I mean, full on take on the role of one of their favorite characters and play it out to the max. OR, become your favorite character and let them into your imagination. Our kids love to see us act silly and this is a great way to do it together. (Let’s face it, they probably don’t see us do it enough)
- Live in the moment – Let every experience be what it is….. on that day. We have a tendency to over plan and try to control everything with our kids….. Try going into it with the idea that it is the first time and let it play out. You will most likely enjoy it more and you won’t have to fight your kids the entire time to make it what you had planned. (Like I’ve said before, planning works out about 50/50, at best)
- Date your spouse – I don’t mean plan date nights and go out to restaurants….. Do little things to delight and surprise each other….. Exactly! Like when you were dating. Nothing makes us feel more giddy and loved in life than attention from the person we love. (And as parents, we never have enough time for each other)
- Play games – I don’t mean emotional games here, I mean actual games. Charades, Pictionary, or Yahtzee! (my family’s favorite!) There is just something about playing games that will loosen the buttons of even the most uptight person. We are a little competitive in my house too, so we have some pretty intense fun!
- Let your kids….. BE kids – They only get one chance to enjoy their childhood, let them. I know I have a problem with over correcting behaviors. Trying to have them act a certain way, or not talk too loud, or be too messy. Whatever. They are kids….. shout with them. Make messes together. They will have so much more fun and frankly, so will you. (Thanks Mom, for constantly reminding me of this one, I’ll get better at it, I promise)
- Laugh Out Loud – Never hold back on a joyous or funny moment. Even if it is at your own expense….. learn to laugh at yourself. I don’t think that anything feels better than laughter. So go ahead. Let it be funny and enjoy it. (If you want to jump-start a laugh fest you can always start a “tickle war” or a “giggle chain” too. They work like magic)
I will be working on these things with my family and I hope that you do too. No matter what you do….. Never lose your sense of Delightful Wonder….. Keep your head up and remember that even the smallest things can be amazing, if you let them. Enjoy your family and life as much as you can. If you have some other ideas that you have tried….. Let me know!