There are moments of being a parent that life does not prepare you for. You don’t know what’s coming and you don’t know how it impacts you. If you’re someone like me, then most of parenthood comes as a surprise, but sometimes you have an emotion you didn’t see coming.
On Friday I got to help out at the twins’ school, as a helper to a fund-raising disco the PTA was having.
And there I was, helping. I was on “patrol”, to make sure students weren’t in places they weren’t supposed to be (like classrooms, which might be tempting when the teacher isn’t watching!) and to shout at anyone caught running in the halls. Inside the main hall a dad of a student was running a disco stand, complete with shiny lights. The kids were all in their finest. Including my two.
And their excitement could nearly be bottled. As they danced their way through song after song, giggling and happy, I felt like I could float along the hallways on the waves of joy from the hall. I peeked into the hall at one point, and there was, laughing and dancing.
On came Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, which is Nora’s favorite song since she heard it at the panto at Christmas.
She looked at me, smiling, her eyes wide.
She reached a hand out.
Without a second thought, I abandoned the halls to kids who wanted to run through them.
I plunged into the hall, grabbed her hands, and we danced and sang along with 100 other kids, parents and teachers to that ridiculous song. It was just us (Nick was off chasing bubbles being blown by a bubble machine), and for a moment it was me and my daughter, holding hands, dancing and singing at the top of our lungs.
I will bottle that moment as a moment of pure, uninterrupted joy and when I think of it, I smile.
Their happiness has a way of hitting me directly in the chest. I remember their raptuorous expressions while watching “In The Night Garden Live”. It made me tear up. Spinning my little girl around as he held her hands in the air caused me to tear up.
I got to see it again on Saturday.
We found a brilliant deal on the web and are taking all 4 kids on the Eurostar, to go to Eurodisney next week at half-term (like Spring Break). We decided to break the news to them by showing them a photo of the Magic Castle.
This is their reaction.
(That’s Alastair in the background, booking up the last details of the trip.)
All they can talk about is “roller posters”, princesses, trains (Nick gets to ride the Eurostar and is beyond excitement about it), and Paris. What they don’t know is that Nick will get to ride “roller posters” (I love that he calls them that) with his much adored older brother (and Nick loves a good roller coaster) while Nora is going to have the chance to be a princess for a day – they do their hair, they get a crown and a dress and the park princesses all call her a princess, too. It may be stereotypical, but it is absolutely the one thing that her heart wants.
And that happiness they have, it fills me up.
They don’t tell you in the books that when your small people are happy it can make you cry with happiness, that it is so amazing you can fly.
When I was at their school – which is a religious C of E school which often we struggle with – I saw a quote which made me gasp. It said: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. – Jeremiah 1:5″. I am not even a little bit religious and I don’t know that I even agree with that statement, but a part of me wanted to sit down when I read that. It’s maybe not that I knew them. It’s that every day I get to be a part of them, it feels like I could never have been anything else.
When they are that happy, and when you get to be a part of that happiness, it is unlike any joy I have ever known in my life.