Today’s column was almost called on account of “Yeah!”
The shouts of triumph – yes, plural – came from Missy. The source? A book full of Star Wars illustrations, every single one of which required her to wave me over so I could share the latest discovery.
A tough-looking Wookiee. Han Solo with a blaster. An alien with a baby face. (“Baby!”) Every few seconds brought a new image, a new cheer, a new requirement to get away from that keyboard and come SEE.
If you know Missy, this won’t surprise you. Her physical and developmental disabilities can make many things challenging for her, but enthusiasm has never been one of them. When she’s in the mood, just about anything can get her supercharged: a classic car, a cool-looking pair of shoes, even an opportunity to wash the dishes.
Now, this could be a column about how great that kind of joy over simple things is. It’s a good thing to remember and I’ve written that piece before. But this time, I want to flip the direction.
You see, those moments don’t follow a schedule. Not one that fits neatly on a calendar alongside “take notes for half thought-out column” and other such things. It means interruptions. Backtracking. Maybe even frustration as you try to recover a lost bit of focus.
But that doesn’t matter.
When you’re a parent – or at least in the position of one – and you get summoned into the latest enthusiasm … you share it. Right then. Right there. Period.
To them, this is the most important thing in the world right now. And being invited to join that is a privilege.
OK, yes, obviously there are limits. Sometimes it’s good to learn to wait. Some dangerous enthusiasms need to be headed off. And yes, sometimes you legitimately can’t interrupt a task . (“I have to keep my eyes on the road right now, sweetie, but I’ll look when we get to this stop sign, ok?”) But by and large, the rule holds.
Don’t squash the joy. Don’t diminish the moment. Never teach the person you love that something else is more important than they are.
Come to think of it, that’s not a bad rule of thumb in general.
Missy’s in a quieter mode now, perusing a magazine as she watches the world through the bay window. But the next moment will come. And when it does, we’ll be there.
After all, it’s a moment to share love.
And that’s always something to shout about.