So that last post showed the dandelion pictures from today, but if you go back to the dandelion post of 2008 you will see that to get a decent happy picture of the children is near impossible. Today wasn’t much different. “Look at the camera, Olivia!” “No bunny ears, Luke!” “Sit straight. Sit forward. Sit back.” In the end we get the shot, but usually there is a good amount of yelling and frustration in order to get the “happy shot”. Ironic, no?
We almost didn’t take the dandelion pictures today because the skies were looking a little ominous. We went out pretty quickly after school for the pictures, and shortly after supper the rain started. By that time the kids were already in their pyjamas and someone got it into their heads that they needed to go out into the rain. And go out they did. And it was a moment of pure joy. The kids running free, getting drenched, dancing and yelling. Marc had learned some new worship songs at a youth conference this weekend. We opened the windows wide and blasted the music, and this is what we watched. Pure joy.
The same thing happened on Mother’s Day, except it almost didn’t. All I wanted was a nice picture of me and the kids. Simple enough. But it quickly escalated into tears and yelling and “Just leave and do whatever you like because you don’t care about any of this!” The kids and I were all in tears. It was the worst. At that rate I was going to have to go out and buy another cake like this (see Mother’s Day 2006) for me on behalf of my family:
I told Marc I didn’t want a picture of us when we were all crying. So he decided a change of “scenery” was in order. The kids and I went out and sat on the front step. Marc turned around for a minute and when we looked again he had dropped his shorts to the ground, standing there in his underwear in our front yard just to get us to smile. And it worked. Oh boy did it work!
And this has now become the picture I want to frame more than any other — more than any contrived picture of happiness. This picture reminds me that the moments of pure joy are often the ones most connected to the moments of pure frustration and desperation. Because when those moments are redeemed, when they are flipped around and made right, oh boy!, are they made right! Made right all the more because of how wrong they were before.
So I am glad tonight to be reminded that joy is found in the unlikely, messy, frustrating places of life. And I’m glad I have a husband willing to drop his shorts in order to put a smile (albeit a smile of shock and disbelief) on my face. And I’m glad I have kids who want to go out and dance in the rain and get wet and messy (note Madeline’s “mud” hand). And feel alive. There is so much joy to be found in simply being alive.