As I was packing Christmas decorations back in boxes today, I was mentally reviewing this past holiday season. One highlight stands out far above the rest and it happened during an afternoon I was unpacking the Christmas lights a few weeks ago.
My daughter was in the house watching a television show after school and I was in the front yard trying to figure out how to wrap colored lights around 3 cactus plants (pain-free), place the net-type white lights on 2 sharp sago palm trees and run lights along my sidewalk, while having the correct extension cords for a successful display.
A man had just crossed the street and was headed toward me, pushing a young boy in a stroller. I thought I recognized them as neighbors I met trick-or-treating at my house on Halloween, so I waved and asked if they were who I thought they were. I was mistaken. He said they lived on another street in the neighborhood and were on their way to the shopping center nearby. While we engaged in small talk about how nice the winter weather is in Arizona, my son's ride home from middle school dropped him off and drove away. The toddler in the stroller lost all interest in me and gazed in pure admiration at the much cooler, preteen walking toward us. As the boys interacted, I noticed the little one had a tight grip on a miniature Buzz Lightyear figure. The dad mentioned, 'Yeah, it's all about Buzz right now.'
Immediately, I turned to my son and asked if we still had the Buzz from when he was younger and he ran in the house to check. The dad started telling me about how he and his wife moved here, when my son returned carrying a slightly scuffed Buzz Lightyear about 10 times larger than the one the little boys' hands.
I will never forget the reaction of this almost 2-year-old. The toy wasn't even handed to him yet, but he had a smile from ear to ear and started pushing his feet on the stroller's foot rest in a way that caused his little diapered bum to bounce up and down in excitement. Thankfully, he was strapped in or he would have launched himself onto the sidewalk! My son showed him the voice command buttons (that actually still worked). I was thinking, dang, those are some rockin' batteries; I can't remember the last time Buzz was out of the toy box (lightyears, I'm sure). Anyway, he also showed him how to shove the wings into the sides and then with a push of a button, they spring out again with a loud click. At that point, I was concerned all the action might be scary for the kid and he might cry. Again, I was mistaken. He was (to infinity and) beyond thrilled with the entire demonstration! I lost count of how many times the dad thanked us. I just replied, 'Merry Christmas!'
Forget my feeble Christmas light display, the display of simple joy by a precious young boy was a shining reminder of the perspective I need to have during the holiday season, and toward life in general! Pure and simple. What a gift from Buzz and his enthusiastic admirer.
The lights from the cactus and the painted sign decoration I decided to hang on my tree this year have been packed away now, but they will certainly bring back a meaningful memory as they are revisited again next year.
Speaking of next year, Happy New Year!!
My goal? Keepin' the buzz ... of simple joy.