Growing up I loved to babysit. I continued doing so through high-school and after graduation. In fact that was what took me to Colorado.
There was one little boy that I loved to watch- Timothy. I worked with his Mom and she would have me come over a few days a week. He was an only child and I loved going to his house to play with him. One afternoon he came walking out of his parents bedroom with the biggest smile on his face. He proudly showed me a new car. He was so excited to tell me all about it. How many pistons it had and what kind it was. He went on to tell me that he was so excited that he got it for his birthday. I loved his excitement for his new toy. It was electric. Never had I seen him so excited over any gift, or toy of his own.
The next day when I went into work I was immediately teased for letting Timothy open up his birthday presents early. I had no idea, but this little boy had been in his parents closet and found his gift. His excitement wasn't just over getting a new toy, but in the discovery of it.
Fast forward ... about 19 years. I had picked up a few things around Easter time and set them inside an armoir in my studio on the top shelf. One of the things was a play dough ice cream fun factory. Usually the doors are closed, but for some reason this day they were open. I was sitting on the floor organizing my ever growing piles of memorabilia not paying attention to Tucker. I heard him take in a breath. I looked up at him and he looked back at me with wide eyes as he said "mom I found something fun!" In a Dash like maneuver Tucker found a stool, managed to get it in the room and around the piles of stuff and then wedged between a pile and the open door on the teeny tiny clear space of floor. Almost as quick he climbed up and grabbed the box and down again and started tearing apart the box. With shaking hands and quick breath he said "oh I can't wait! I am so excited!"
This is from the boy who does not care for arts and crafts, or creating things. He would much rather take something apart, or screw or nail something to a board. His excitement over finding this new toy was so fun to watch. I really think his excitement in finding it exceeded any that he would have had, if I had saved it and wrapped it up for some future occasion. Tucker and Luke played with the playdough for over an hour.
As I watched Tucker play "ice cream shop" I remembered about Timothy and his excitement. I used to feel a little guilty that he had found his present early. Now I don't feel bad that he had that moment of fun, just sad that his mom missed seeing him so excited about it.
The fun has not faded for them. They are still having fun with it. Me? I am remembering the joy of picking playdough out of carpet and scraping it off of clothes.