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Exuberance, Part 2

It’s that time of year again. The daycare end-of-the-year program is tonight. Back in December, I wrote about the last installment of the daycare touring show — the Christmas program. And just like that experience, exuberance has again been rearing its head around my house.

Granted, exuberance comes standard where Bug, the four-year-old is concerned, but it’s so much bigger and well, exuberant when there’s a performance involved. Especially a performance he’s been practicing for.

So, this morning I was informed, “Today is next Thursday!”

There’s been quite a buildup to “the program,” as we’ve come to call it. His teachers instilled in Bug the idea that “the program” was happening on Thursday, and ever since, I’ve been asked to explain all things relative to the particular Thursday in question.

Today’s the day. Exuberance struck this morning in full force with major jumps around the kitchen, speed chasing through the hallway, volume set firmly on ten and umpteen questions about who’s coming, did we realize it was tonight, wait is it tonight, my teacher said it was tonight, and so forth.

I found myself saying, “Bug, we need to calm down.”

“Bug, settle down.”

“Bug, we need to lower our voices inside.”

“Yes, Bug, I know it’s Thursday.” (insert sigh)

“BUG! You’re too excited! You need to calm down. RIGHT. NOW.”

He stopped. He searched my grim face for a moment. His giant grin dropped to a blank expression. He looked away for a moment. His face colored slightly. Then, he smiled at me again. Maybe a little weaker, but a smile.

That’s when it hit me. WHAT am I doing? I’d rather see his vibrant grin than a blank stare any day. Any moment. Every moment. This was something he had worked for. Something he had practiced. Something that was just his. In a year of big firsts for his older brother becoming a kindergardener and his younger sister learning to talk and do so many things, this was HIS moment. He was the only one of us in “the program.” This was HIS program.

And he was excited about it.

Dare I say, exuberant. And I want him to be. I want to celebrate with him. I want him to know that I can’t wait to see him shine. And I told him so. I grabbed him for a big hug — the kind mommies give when they know they’ve handled it all wrong. The kind with the prayer under my breath saying, “God, please don’t let him remember this.” I told him I was SO excited about his program. That I couldn’t wait to see it. And he bounded off again with exuberance somewhat in tact.

Yes, I understand self control. I understand appropriate. I understand time and place. I understand how frenzied those exuberant moments (and days) can be. And, I understand how they stretch even the most patient mommy (which I am not) during the daily morning routine. Still, in a world where folks pay big money to attend seminars devoted to helping them find the motivation to do things they already say they want to do… In a world where the self help aisle is burgeoning with ways to get yourself on target with that next big idea… In a world where it seems to take an inordinate amount of effort to defy the inertia of lives plugged in to this technology or entertainment or the other… In that world, I WANT to see exuberance. Blinding, unfiltered, self-generated exuberance.

In my Bug, I want to mold it. I want to season it. I want to train it. I want to channel it. And, yes, at times I may even want to contain it. But I never want to squelch it.

Instead, I want to celebrate it. And tonight, I will.

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