Today I was lucky enough to join my exhuberant preschooler on a class trip to The Children’s Museum. We boarded the long coveted yellow school bus and buckled 14 little people into their seats. (Yes, they have harness buckles for preschoolers, gone are the days of bouncing around freely while the driver watches helpless in his overhead mirror.)
We the parents and teachers settled in for a long ride of singing, screaming, giggling, whining, crying, laughing, fussing, fighting, and joking. One or two mini meltdowns later, curtailed by talented adults who know just how to distract, engage, and divert a restrained 4-5 year old, we finally arrived at the museum.
Here we joined with moms and dads and play-groups galore in a rambunctious romp fest of infinite proportions. As the children climbed, and ran, splashed, built, crashed, banged, and pretended their way through the museum, I found myself inundated with the immense poignancy of people spilling love all over these perfect, precious children.
I watched gratefully as daddy’s “gobbled” their chubby little toddler’s legs, and mommy’s caressed sweet little heads. I saw siblings and classmates looking out for one another. I saw children interacting with children they had never met before with a shared sense of purpose, to cultivate the most joy they possibly could from this experience. I saw parents and caregivers smiling at one another with compassion and understanding. An unspoken message seemed to be passing invisibly through the air from one to another, “We are loving, we are trying”. Perhaps the morning had been wrought with tantrums and yelling, or maybe the ride there had been a tear-filled nightmare… Maybe someone’s toddler had been teething the night before or a family member had been sick recently… Regardless of what baggage we all carried into that museum, what I saw was a beautiful display of pure grace.
In the eyes of the children, the parents, the caregivers, I saw a moment that captured the simple, ecstatic innocence of childhood. My heart was overcome with gratitude, burdened with sorrow at the thought of anyone suffering, helpless over the fact that we live in a world where innocence and joy are shadowed by violence and fear.
I found myself moved to tears as I sat and appreciated, soaking up every single second of the bliss that played out before me. I was so glad to have been there, to have shared this day with a building full of joy seekers and life livers. I was honored to be a mother, a woman, a human being, a part of something so inexplicably awesome.