One of the beauties of having young children is that they find joy in the simplest things.
I was reminded of that again today as we dropped off our recycling.
Our town doesn't have curbside recycling pick-up,
so every week or two I load it all up and we take it to the drop-off dumpsters.
Lincoln and Maxwell love to help me unload it.
Their excitement about the big metal stairs that lead up to the dumpster opening is almost tangible.
Their concentration as they carefully drop boxes and papers into the dark, gaping mouth of the dented metal box is evident on their faces.
Stretching on their tiptoes to drop our trash into the dark cavern that towers above their heads must seem like an enchanting mystery to them.
To me, it's just a simple task--part of the daily grind.
It's even a hassle at times.
But when I take a step back and see those little moments through the eyes of my children,
my joy and contentment increase drastically.
After we dropped off the recycling, we headed to one of our favorite parks.
I took special note of Maxwell's shock and then the enormous smile that spread itself across his face when he found an especially big stick.
I delighted as Lincoln coaxed me to climb to the top of the hill with him to enjoy the spectacular view, where we could even see the swing we had been sitting on moments before! His reverential awe made it seem as though we were standing on top of one of the world's great peaks instead of a gentle rise 100 yards from the playground.
I took in the way Benson teetered and tottered down the sloped path, trying desperately not to lose his balance while simultaneously jerking his hand away from mine in independence when I tried to help him.
We raced our sticks under a bridge, tossing them into a stagnant trickle in a drainage ditch.
Their anti-climactic speed made no difference to Lincoln when his stick emerged first on the other side.
There is something about being outside that grounds me, as a mother.
When I am away from spilled milk and dirty laundry,
from traffic jams and advertisements,
from papers to be signed and bills to be paid and customer service numbers to be called,
my soul is calmed and I am at peace.