Often at dinner, we go around and share our best part of the day as well as the hardest. And sometimes, when the kids get home from school, in order to get any kind of information about the goings on of their education, I ask them the same thing.
Most often it goes something like this…
Best part? Recess, pizza at lunch, played games at center time, no homework, good grade on a test, passed rocket math, gym class, art class, and so on.
Not so great parts? no recess, boring music class, writing assessment day, didn’t pass rocket math, friend wasn’t nice, no time to do whatever i want because we had to learn- cause teachers are just mean like that.
Today was different. As soon as we stepped into the kitchen to grab a snack and look through backpacks, the joy came flowing- and I mean flowing out of him.
“Mom- today I did some great things!
FIRST, I was not picked last for the kickball team! YES. (Fist pump) Then, I actually caught the ball when someone kicked it to me. I never catch the ball! We had been losing and after I caught the ball, we started winning! We won!
Mom, I always do great things when I least expect it!”
Now, I wish I could have just jumped right in and celebrated along with him. But, I had a really hard time getting passed the first, glorious, today I didn’t get picked last. Is this the dream we are bound to be celebrating? Is it true that my kid is the one desperately waiting not to get picked last again?
But the joy in the kitchen was palpable. And you couldn’t help cheering along with him. There was no bemoaning the fact that this doesn’t happen daily. There was only joy in reliving that moment when he caught that ball and could not believe it didn’t drop to the ground. He reenacted it for us and was still surprised as he looked down and that imaginary ball stayed in his grip.
So we cheered. We high fived. We celebrated.
It feels good to do great things unexpectedly.
As I lay awake last night, thinking about the dreams for my child’s life, I kept coming back to this moment. Rarely are we fist pumping and bumping about good grades. There are always good grades. The academics, well, those are easy for him. It isn’t exciting to get 100% on a test. It’s easy to do that. It’s not new to get all the bonus questions right. It doesn’t bring thrill to do well on a project. It isn’t special to get a perfect score.
All this, this is expected.
But, getting picked for the team or catching the ball, that is never guaranteed. So when it does happen, we are gonna celebrate – big time. Because the joy and the great things usually come out of the unexpected, the hard stuff. The person we are discovering ourselves to be isn’t just made of the things that rise so easily to the top of the heap. Part of our deeper self shows up when we have to work for it, or even when it is surprisingly handed to us out of grace- it’s then we cherish it.