Finding joy in the mundane

There is a secret that parents know but only discuss with other parents.

A few days ago, I met with an old friend of mine. He's not a parent, but he likes kids. When asked if he'd like to be a dad someday, part of his answer is something I've heard several times before: "Being an uncle is better; you only get to do the fun stuff."

I opened this essay by telling you about a secret. Here it is: the most fun stuff and the most pleasurable stuff with kids are often the non-obvious ones.

Sure, it is an incredible experience to play Lego with a child and see her creating things. Or to walk next to her as she rides a pony for the first time.

But there's something truly remarkable happening when you manage to wake up while doing something seemingly mundane with a kid.

Our family has a couple of "traditions," and walking daily is one of them. Winter where we live is cold; sometimes, it is really cold. Dressing kids before going out can be quite a frustrating experience, as children's cooperation rarely makes the whole process easier.

While assisting my daughter to put on her jacket, I had such a joyful experience of the mundane. For an instant, and in the middle of my boiling impatience, the time stopped, and a wave of love, happiness, and amusement submerged me.

Being with kids can do that to us: teaching us to find joy in the mundane.