Joy in My Own Backyard

I was awoken early this morning by daughter, who was fully dressed from head to toe, prepared to start her day. While I was disappointed that I didn’t get to sleep in on a Sunday (and by sleep in, I mean sleep until 6:45), I wasn’t irritated like I might have been since I wanted to get the kids out of the house early in order to give my husband some time off. In my mind, I was planning to give my husband time to himself, fully expecting that this favor would be returned later in the day.

After being gone for more than two hours, I came home to a husband who was intently watching football. As I stepped in the door, my 6 year old daughter continued with her incessant chatter and my son started crying. I changed his diaper. I played a game with my daughter. I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine. I made lunch for the both kids. I dealt with the nagging of my daughter who claimed boredom. I cleaned up the food that had been thrown all over the kitchen by my son. I changed another diaper. And my husband was still watching football, seemingly oblivious to the needs of the children. As the minutes passed, and the football game seemed to be never ending, my anger grew. I was mad that he wasn’t helping me with the kids, that he had the luxury of sitting around and watching football while I trudged through the daily routines of motherhood. This went on for a couple of hours until I sent my daughter outside to burn off some energy.

I opened the backdoor, and suddenly everything changed. The sun shone brightly on this 72 degree fall day, a slight breeze causing colorful leaves to casually descend to the ground. My son happily tagged along behind his sister, anxious to experience a little freedom outside. I watched the two of them, really watched them as they frolicked in the green grass and warm air. My son, bear crawling through the grass. My daughter, showing off the cartwheels that she’s been practicing in gymnastics. My son, giddy as he stood up on his own (a milestone moment) with a ball in hand. My daughter, examining the different leaves that had fallen to the ground. And then there they were together, playing and interacting. There was a full 45 minutes of my daughter repeatedly lifting her baby brother to the top of the slide, and then waiting for him at the bottom with open arms as he slid down.

The laughter, the hollering, the shouts of delight; this was pure childhood joy from nothing more than good weather, soft grass, and a mini slide in the backyard. And it was pure joy for my weary mama heart, a heart that is so often overcome with anger, irritation, and resentment. Joy that I so often miss as I get tangled up in my own emotions and the unending household tasks. A combination of sunshine, pure laughter, and a half naked baby were all it took to turn the day around-simple things that happen on a daily basis, but that I don’t often pay attention to. It was my manna for the day, and I’m grateful that I took the time to notice.


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