One thing I have discovered as I grow older, is that joy isn’t so simple anymore. Not that I’m gloomy, or depressed, but I find my true joys are far fewer and harder to find. One episode in particular brought this home to me last week.
I was travelling to Washington via train as I usually do, when I spied a young couple and their toddler daughter a few seats away. Normally, I would have read or otherwise occupied the time, but this little girl was so delightful to watch, I just sat and observed. The couple was immediately different because unlike about 80 percent of commuters, they engaged each other in conversation, and paid rapt attention to the child, and her myriad questions.
She was just old enough to speak in some short sentences, and make herself understood to Mom and Dad, and it was a sight to behold. The child had a ready smile, and large blue eyes, all topped with an unruly halo of brown hair which was all over the place. She wore it almost like a lion’s mane rather than a head of hair.
This kid was watching everything, and everyone, and learning the entire time. It was then I noticed the air of simple joy that surrounded the three of them. A very happy and loving family unit, with a child who was adored by the parents and clearly adored them in return. They took joy in each other and it was something to see and appreciate.
Sometimes, if you feel jaded or particularly cynical, try to watch a child and how they interact with the world. If that doesn’t change your outlook, I doubt anything will. This little girl said “Hi” to anyone and everyone, and did it with a lovely smile, along with the full expectation the greeting would be returned by all, and it was. Her Mom walked away from the seats for a few minutes to speak to a conductor, and when she returned was greeted with a joyous shriek of, “MOMMY!!” Almost as though she’d been away for a week.
In a nutshell, on a day when I really needed it, and had no idea where to find it–I saw Simple Joy. Thanks kid.