Earlier this week I turned 31. Yikes. I’ve had a hard time turning 30 and 31 feels just as bad. I feel like I have all these expectations of what someone in their 30s should be like; well put together and dignified and really skilled at making spreadsheets. While I do wish my spreadsheet skills were better, I don’t really want to be the kind of person who has it all figured out.
The day after my birthday my kids participated in their elementary school’s fun run fundraiser. My job for the day was to check off a number for each lap a child completed; 36 laps being the goal. If you told me to run 36 laps, I would probably cry, but these kids were hyped. I really enjoyed watching their focused, happy faces and it got me feeling introspective.
As a mama, probably one of my very favorite things to do is watch my little ones delight in anything — it could be a worm, a nickel they found in the van, a cool rock in the parking lot, or a million dollars. It’s the same intense joy for all the things. When they see something that makes them happy, they literally jump for joy! When and why did we stop jumping for joy? I don’t remember making a conscious decision that I shouldn’t do that anymore, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I was so thrilled that I jumped up and down. It would probably hurt my old lady knees anyway, honestly.
Another one of my favorite moments with my kids is watching them have dance parties together (usually to songs that make me insane, but I can overlook that part). They’ll do whatever Fortnite dance they think is cool even if they actually get it all wrong. They keep trying. They laugh at themselves. They go hard. Even if the older kids are a little more resistant to it, I can usually get them pumped pretty easily by cheering for them a little bit. It’s so much fun and the kids giggle and I melt and those are the moments I want to keep forever in my memories.
But mama, when is the last time you danced like that?
It’s probably safe to say it’s been a while. And it is also probably safe to say that it most likely took a little liquid courage to get you feeling brave enough to bust a move in the first place. I believe there is a little part in all of us that wants to be able to dance whenever we want. I see people tapping on their steering wheels in traffic and a subtle little shoulder shimmy when the Backstreet Boys is playing in the background while you’re grocery shopping. Our inner child is still alive inside us somewhere. This year, I want to reconnect with her.
This year, my goal is going to be rediscovering wonder. I want to move from only watching my children feel that joy, to discovering that joy along with them. Christmastime is magical anyway, so now is a great time to start. It will have to be intentionally done for sure.
I think part of rediscovering wonder is going to require me to put down my phone. I always feel annoyed when I’m watching fireworks and some doofus is recording the fireworks on their phone. They’re seeing a whole firework display through their screen and missing the big show in the sky right in front of them. And for who? Now that I think of it, I’m probably a doofus too because I have spent so much time trying to capture photos and videos of my kids enjoying moments, that I don’t get to truly delight in those moments with them.
As the holidays amp up and a new decade approaches, I am challenging myself and whoever reads this to be brave enough to follow that small voice inside. Look at those Christmas lights a little longer. Awkwardly dance to Jingle Bell Rock and embarrass your children. Try something new, even if it means you may be bad at it at first.