Tuesday was one of those days. My smile was a facade, it was there, but wasn’t as wide, or bright, or authentic, as it usually is. At one point, my daughter even asked me why I wasn’t goofing around as much as I usually do.
I was grumpy. I had a bad case of the grown-ups.
I’m not going to trouble you with the details, partially because I’m not sure what the particulars actually were, but I was stressed and fixated on things both in and out of my control. And at one point, I started getting stressed about what life wasn’t, instead of enjoying what life was.
My niece has this theory that your favorite Disney movie says a lot about you personally. I think she is right. My favorite is Peter Pan. My mother impressed upon me at an early age to not be in a hurry to grow up because once you are grown up – you’re grown up for good.
Well, Tuesday I had at least one foot out of Neverland. And it was crushing me.
After my daughter made her statement she went back to playing. She arranged the hose to spray into the trampoline in which she was jumping. There were shrieks of sheer laughter mixed with joy.
Meanwhile, I was knee deep in grown-up guilt and self-loathing, but a part of my brain clicked and realized what part of my problem was. I wasn’t enjoying the moments that I should.
I’m a strong believer that one of the most important qualities in a person is the kid inside of him. That kid asks the hard questions, is driven by curiosity, enjoys adventure, and sees the small rays of sunshine even on cloudy days. Now I’m not saying that kid should rule to roost, but he is an important element. One should always have at least one foot in Neverland at all times.
I’d like to say that I shook the grumps right then and there and a rainbow grew out of the ground and we had a Hallmark moment. That didn’t happen.
There was a Hallmark moment, but it was quiet and personal. My kids didn’t even know that it was happening. But I have a mental picture in my mind of them jumping on the trampoline. That’s the cover of the card. Two siblings soaking in all the joy of a summer day.
The tag line of the card? Simple:
Never leave Neverland.
Editor’s Note: A version of this post first appeared on Balcony Dads.