It was a perfect day with a bright sun and a cool breeze. My one year old in the stroller was pointing and yelling “Ba!” at each bird, squirrel, dog, butterfly, and live creature he saw along the way.
My three and four year olds raced down the sidewalk smelling every flower they could find. “Smell this one!” my son would shout, and my daughter would run over. They’d sniff the flowers together, and then race to the next ones. “I see one! Let’s go!”
They were so full of uninhibited joy that they felt more like the sun than the sun that day.
They wore goofy grins and you could just feel the happiness blowing off them and around them with each gust of wind.
When they’d had enough of smelling flowers, they started hugging all the trees together. They’d shout, “Tree!” and then they’d sandwich it and give it a double squeeze before racing along to the next one. When we went by the library, my recently potty-trained daughter started shouting, “We don’t wear diapers! Not at all! We don’t wear diapers! Not at all!”
Her brother joined in and it sounded like they were the chant leaders for a huge potty-training rally. They were punching their arms in the air for effect, marching together. A few teenagers and their mom looked at them and smiled. “I miss those days,” the mom muttered to me. I smiled back sheepishly.
When we got home, my daughter found a few craft feathers in the garage and started tickling my one year old with them. Our baby squealed with delight as his sister brushed the feather across his chubby cheek. He grabbed it and started tickling himself too, laughing a belly laugh each time he did it.
Sure, we’d had our share of challenges that week–sleepless nights, potty accidents, monkey fights, tantrums, all that.
But that day, when my kids were so centered in their larger-than-life spirits, so happy, so cute and so hilarious, I just wanted to bottle it up to remember it forever.
Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD, blogs regularly at ParentHappy.