I was in one of my favorite places, the north side branch of the library. As I removed my “on hold” books and DVD’s off the shelf, I heard giggles. I turned around and noticed the Wednesday morning toddler story-telling session, led by a young male staffer. I began checking out the books on the computer and heard more giggles. This time I turned around to watch. (As you may have experienced, there is something about small children giggling that stops a routine errand in its tracks.)
The story-teller was reminding the kids that they had discovered two words that begin with the letter “b” – bear and banana. They had just read a book about a bear. Now they were going to become a banana. At his bidding the kids (about one year to – three years in age) stood up. He demonstrated how to become a banana by raising his hands over his head and tilting slightly. Shuffling and giggling accompanied twenty children becoming bananas.
“Now,” he said, “we are going to peel the banana, chop the banana, smush the banana, and eat the banana.” The kids carefully followed his actions. “And now,” he said, “We’re going to go bananas!” He began waving his arms, nodding his head, and jumping up and down – going bananas. The kids went mad – going bananas. “Again,” they shouted, “do it again!”
“Okay,” he agreed. And he went through the whole process again. A delighted observer, I noticed the anticipation on the kids’ faces. Finally he got to the “going bananas” part; the kids screamed in delight and went bananas.
“You are welcome to stay and watch,” said another librarian who had also been delighting in the gleeful children. “I’d love to!” I said. But then the responsible-grown-up-me took over. “But my husband is waiting for me in the car.”
As I got in the car, I shared my adventure with my husband. (I think I may have even demonstrated going bananas in the parking lot!) He smiled, but I could tell that he could not get into the moment with me. As I drove home, my mind flashed back to story hour, and I giggled.
At home, I wondered why that vignette was so appealing to me. It finally dawned on me: this was a moment of pure joy! Everyone involved, including the watching bystanders, was experiencing joy! Perhaps that’s why I didn’t want to leave. I don’t think I experience JOY!!! very often. The wriggling, giggling “bananas” cut through my adult life filled to the brim with the anxieties and heaviness of 2017 and drew me in. I pledged that I would create experiences that would bring that missing ingredient of JOY into my life more often.
I made a note to watch my “DVR’d” version of the World of Dance – the epitome of people finding joy in what they do. And then I thought, “I’ll write a blog post about this” – an experience that, once the writing is done and revised (and revised again), brings me great joy.
Wishing you the blessing of joy!