On a clear day, you can see Mt. Meru from the trails of Kilimanjaro. I am lucky in more ways than I can count, but this day counts as one of the greatest ways. As a child growing up on not-so-kind street, this is a view I would have never imagined. Not even for a minute.
Do you have a favorite pair of Christmas pajamas? Fancy, footed or fabulous – this seasonal attire is something most of us can get solidly behind, right? Maybe you like to get a jump on things by wearing them on the day after Thanksgiving or get the most out of your celebration by wearing them well into the first week of January. That seems totally reasonable and even quite festive.
But my 6YO daughter is a special character in the play of my life. One who plays by her own set of rules. A small example being her public display of Mrs. Claus well into the hot summer months. In Texas no less, where it is known to hit triple digits well before Memorial Day. This matters not to her, she’s the queen of her castle.
On a recent road trip across the featureless dust bowl of west Texas, she took this this nocturnal winter season costuming all the way to the blazing hot desert of New Mexico. We arose early to start the trip.
Surely she will want to change by mid-morning, I thought.
A few hours in and we are in the wind farms of west Texas.
The pajamas remain.
A little while later we stop for a picnic in some place called Seminole.
The pajamas remain.
Then we cross the state line and take an obligatory pose in front of a blazing hot sign in Hobbs, NM.
The pajamas remain.
We arrive to our first destination and hang out for a bit with some skinny wooden aliens.
It’s 105 degrees and the pajamas remain.
I wasn’t sure how much longer she was planning to continue.
Then, in an instant, those Christmas pajamas were tossed aside.
Had the 105 degree heat finally taken its toll? Had she finally realized it was silly to be wearing Christmas pajamas in June? Was she embarrassed to be wearing pajamas in public? No, none of these adult hangups entered her 6YO mind. It was simply time to swim.
Some may say I should have insisted that she put on “real” clothes. Or suggest that I give her too much lead on her rope. Or even that I should be more stern seeing as her appearance is a reflection upon me, right?
She can teach us all a few things. Just like she teaches me each and every day.
Such as if you love something enough, don’t over think why or worry about what others might think. Even if this something is a bit impractical for your current circumstances, you should love it out loud. Wear it. Picnic in it. Pose in it. Celebrate it. Proudly.
Each of us have our beloved Christmas pajamas. The question is – are we willing to take them out and display for all to see in the middle of June? I hope so because when we do, all those standing by and watching will love us even more for it.
I grew up a bit today. As I watched my first born walk away, passport in hand with the bags I packed just so, I felt my legs grow slightly. As he passed through airport security, my heart skipped a beat. As he turned the corner and went out of sight, I lost my breath.
For this adventure he goes solo, beyond the bounds of my watchful eye. This time, he will double bounce with others and hopefully remember to change his underwear. But as he walked towards his adventure and away from me, I saw him grow a mile. Or two. Or maybe three.
Me? Well, I just stood there and grew – inch by painful inch.
The day I met my first born marks a milestone in my life. A day after which, I was no longer the person I was before. An anniversary of my becoming conscious of complete and utter vulnerability. Upon meeting him, I would never again walk this Earth with the same sense of complete confidence. The physical scars have long since healed, but I remain tragically aware of how profoundly wounded I could be because of this most precious being.
My deep vulnerability is packaged neatly and poetically with the laughter – sometimes a chuckle, sometimes absurd, full-on, side-splitting belly laughs. Belly laughs like when we discovered that I pee (just) a little bit when he double bounces me on the trampoline. That’s right, I pee, just enough to make me laugh out loud.
So double bounce away, little man, ’cause the mixture of belly-filling laughter and slight humiliation is truly sublime.