A Snake, a Broken Arm and Joy

My daughter Mia loves snakes. Big snakes. Below is one of my favorite pictures of all time. She was only in second grade and she had a broken arm. She was feeling terribly sad at that time so I took her to the Cincinnati Museum Center to see if we could rummage up some fun.

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And the lo and behold, the folks from the zoo were there with giant snakes. Mia just lit up when she saw them. The next thing I knew, a kind gentleman was carefully draped his massive snake around my seven-year old’s shoulders while I stood many, many feet away and tried to stay calm.

“I’ll stand way over here and take your picture, okay sweetie?”

You can see in her eyes how excited she was. Like completely-full-of-joy excited. I think she was a little frightened too, but that just made it all the more interesting to her.

I was looking at this picture the other day and I thought, if we could all carry a little of this kind of light into our own new year, we might actually turn our lives toward what we hope they will become. A little enthusiasm never hurt anyone. And I, her mom, didn’t like the snake, but Mia did. We all need to go toward what we love, not what our society, or our moms, tells us we “should” love. Mia would never have gotten close to that snake if she hadn’t let me know that that is what she wanted. And I had to let her have it. I couldn’t throw my worries at her. That’s the tricky part of parenting…

I myself am truly excited about the possibilities ahead in 2016. I’m focusing my energy, my joy and my time on what I love most in my life besides my dear family, of course,  and that really comes down to music and stories and that’s just about it, really.

What could you put a little more energy, joy and snake-enthusiasm behind?

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