Kids bring joy to everyday activities

Published: Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 11:12 a.m.

Sunday morning, 7 a.m., I'm dreaming of nothing more exciting than a pot of coffee and a leisurely perusal of the newspaper, but a little face appears next to mine.

"Let's go for a walk!"

It's hard to believe that this is the same child who, on weekdays, has to be extracted from his bed with the Jaws of Life. But here he is, on a day when he could sleep to his heart's content, ready for action at the crack of dawn.

It's one of those times when I have to remind myself that we didn't become parents so that we could sleep in.

We didn't have kids so that we'd have plenty of uninterrupted conversations or disposable income, or so we could read novels without falling asleep with our faces in them. We had all that before.

I'm not sure we could have articulated it at the time, but I think we took the leap because we needed a little chaos in our lives.

Sure, in our pre-kid life, the house got vacuumed at least weekly and dusted more often than each presidential inauguration. But there was something missing: The chance to share our house and our lives with someone for whom even the most mundane day is wide-open with possibility, someone who rockets out of bed on a day that promises nothing more dramatic than a walk in the woods, a good book and a family dinner thinking, "Lemme at it! Let's go!" In short, someone who believes in magic.

If there's one thing kids are guaranteed to add to our lives - other than sticky surfaces - it's magic. Everything is new and undiscovered, with the possibility of magic everywhere. And seen through their eyes, we get a glimpse of it, too.

Ever tried to explain to a kid how the moving pictures on the television get into your house? Tell me that's not a bit of magic. Popcorn and snow are clearly magical, as is the lift at the Jiffy Lube that makes cars fly. Understanding the science behind these things doesn't make them any less magical - at least, not with a kid in tow.

We love them because of the chaos and unpredictability they introduce, even though those are the same things we lament when we think back to our orderly pre-kid existences, or when we find a plastic Army man in the jelly.

Kids inject the unexpected into every day. They change your ringtone when you're not looking, and you don't notice until you've missed 50 calls and can't figure out why your purse is meowing. They demand that we live in the moment. They reorder our plans and our priorities in a way that, no matter how inconvenient, is rarely wrong.

And they remind us that magic really is out there, if we can only stop and look.

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