How do you hold on to first-time awe?

By Carol / August 25, 2014 /

My granddaughter started kindergarten this past week. When she told her dad about her first day in school, she could barely contain herself.

  • “Guess what? We played in the gym!”
  • “Guess what? We had music class!”
  • “Guess what? I met new friends!”
  • “Guess what? I ate my lunch there!”

She had a truly awesome, magical first day.

As I thought about the joy and awe with which my granddaughter launched into school, I realized how seldom I feel that sense of magical awe anymore. When you are five, most things in your life are glorious, untarnished firsts. When you are sixty-five, firsts – when I have them – occur in the midst of days crammed with responsibilities and in the context of a lifetime of experiences that tinge awe with reality.

I know I have so many reasons for joy and awe. Yet, often I rush past them, thinking instead and ahead to the next meeting, the calls waiting to be answered, the blogs to be written, the host of responsibilities that crowd every day. As a result, I look past the moments of joy and awe while they’re happening rather than reveling in the moments.

Part of the answer for me, I think, is to be conscious of the need to slow down, to live, to breathe, to take joy in each moment. Then I also need to spend more time celebrating those precious moments.

She lost her first tooth!

She lost her first tooth!

I can learn from my granddaughter. Before school started, she lost her first tooth. She was over the moon. She wanted every picture I took to show she’d lost that tooth. When she visited this weekend, she had a second tooth on the verge of coming out. She is just as excited. We took pictures of the loose tooth, and I know we’ll take more pictures when the tooth is gone.

The launch events last month for my novel Go Away Home were amazing, joyful experiences. I did have to run from event to event, but after the last event, my husband, son and I went out to celebrate. They were so happy for me – I was so happy for me. Celebrating at the moment expanded the joy – and kept me from rushing right into thinking about the next task on the ‘to do’ list.

Holding on to the joy and reveling in the joy, ensure special moments remain special. They allow me to squeeze every drop of pleasure out of those precious moments in my life.

My wish for my granddaughter is to be able to experience that first-day-of-school, first-lost-tooth, first-time awe many, many times in her life.

My wish for me is to remember that there is joy to be experienced if I slow down and absorb it.

 How about you? How do you keep a sense of joy and awe in your life?

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  1. Kathleen Pooler on August 26, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Carol, it’s amazing what we can learn from children when we take time to listen as you have here. Lovely post and reminder to slow down and capture the joy of the moments. The precious picture of your granddaughter captures the essence of this message!

    • Carol Bodensteiner on August 26, 2014 at 9:03 am

      I think this is a classic example of how children keep us young, Kathy. I plan to frame this picture so I’ll have my precious girl and her reminder in front of me always.

  2. Diane Glass on August 26, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Carol, I so appreciate this message, being a classic “what needs to be done today” kind of person. Slowing down is helpful. So is realizing that I’m never really “done.” Life is for enjoying moment to moment. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Carol Bodensteiner on August 26, 2014 at 9:06 am

      We’ve been programmed to keep doing more all the time, haven’t we, Diane? It’s how we proved our worth. Recognizing that we’re never really done – and that hardly ever does it really matter if we do a task today or tomorrow – help take the pressure off. Have a lovely day.

  3. David Lawlor on August 26, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I’m writing this surrounded by Chloe (7), Ruby (5) and Lily (3), who are thrusting loom bands and tiny toys in front of me to get my attention. In the blink of an eye the years will pass and it will be me vying or theirs….Thanks for reminding me of holding on to the precious moments.

    • Carol Bodensteiner on August 26, 2014 at 10:17 am

      You are so right, David. Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the cradle” comes to mind. I see the years speeding by with my granddaughters. Play with your children; the writing can wait.

  4. Elfrieda Schroeder on August 26, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Today my grandchildren and I went to the city zoo and attended the release of hundreds of monarch butterflies who will wing their way to Mexico. I was one of the fortunate ones to have a butterfly land on my hand. I walked around with it for quite a while. It was an awesome moment for both my grandchildren and me!

    • Carol Bodensteiner on August 27, 2014 at 9:27 am

      What an awesome moment, Elfrieda! To spend the day with your grandchildren. To see so many monarch butterflies begin their migration. To have a butterfly visit you personally. When I read your comment, I thought, “I hope they took a picture.” Pictures are a way I capture and hold on to moments of awe. Thanks for sharing.

      • Elfrieda Schroeder on August 27, 2014 at 10:07 am

        Carol, we took lots of pictures! The Free Press even took one, but don’t know if it will make the newspaper!

        • Carol Bodensteiner on August 27, 2014 at 10:22 am

          Oh, good! I’d love to see them.

  5. Merril Smith on August 26, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Wonderful post, Carol! I think sometimes we recapture the sense of joy and awe by seeing it in our children or grandchildren.
    Good luck to your granddaughter and good luck to you. Wishing you both magical days!

    • Carol Bodensteiner on August 26, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Exactly right, Merril, my granddaughters bring me joy every time I see them. She is so happy about losing that tooth, we’ve many pictures. Now we’re waiting to see how her little sister responds when it’s her turn.

  6. Shirley Hershey Showalter on August 27, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Such a good reminder, Carol, of how exciting the world appears when we have “beginner’s mind.”

    And how fun to see this picture and read this story just as Owen is getting ready for kindergarten and has lost his own first tooth!

    • Carol Bodensteiner on August 27, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      We have a granddaughter entering kindergarten this year, too, and she hasn’t lost her first tooth yet. I’m eager to see if she is as wildly enthusiastic about the experience as her older sister was. It is absolutely true that children keep us young.

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