“H is getting so big,” he tells me.
He has slid forward in the bucket swing so that his body stretches long. His legs are dangling toward the ground, and they look more gangly than I remember them being a second ago.
He looks into my eyes, grinning. He looks proud.
“Yes! H is getting so big!” I smile back at him, basking in the reflected glow of his delight.
In this moment, my heart understands something transformative. There is joy in growing, and I can take delight in my own growth as he does in his. Joy and delight will not be possible all of the time, no, but taking a longer view of the journey might help me meet the muck and the rocky terrain that inevitably comes up with less resistance. This painful moment is not all there is, and it will not stretch on indefinitely. It is a stepping stone to the next moment, which may well contain a counterbalancing joy. How much more likely I am to find joy strewn in with the pain when I believe it can be there and look for it. I feel my body relax and my mind become more spacious with the shift in perspective from ‘this growing is painful’ to ‘this growing can be painful and yet there is much joy, too, to be found in the journey.’
I don’t have to make it be so hard for myself. There is joy in growing. I breathe in the idea and let it go, making room for everything that is happening right now, the pain, yes, and also the joy.
I give H another push and let his laughter bring me back to him. He is getting so big, and I want to be witness to as much of his growing as I can. It is, as he knows intuitively, a joyful and beautiful thing.