Regaining Wonder


I sometimes envy the look of amazement and innocent wonder in the eyes of a child as they gaze upon something I’ve somehow forgotten was worthy of such awe. I don’t remember when I first lost the gift of seeing the marvel of what we grow up to find ordinary, but I remember quite well the day I realized it had happened. It broke my heart. My tears blurred the road before me as I pulled the car off to the shoulder and cried. I tried to contain it for the sake of my children, but now I realize it may serve as a great life lesson for them one day.

Christmas was fast approaching; the kids were giddy with all the anxious excitement holidays bring. School had been out for a week and they were growing more and more restless with each passing day. I had so much to do, there were still gifts to buy and wrap in pretty paper, cards to sign and stamp and send, and what seemed like a million other things. I felt flustered and frazzled, the thought of the inevitable trip to the grocery store with four young children was weighing heavily on my mind.

We arrived at a supermarket filled with bustling, busy, and irritable shoppers. I fit right in. All the things that cause general annoyance in the store seemed magnified, the kids wanted this and they wanted that, the lines were long and my fuse was growing shorter by the minute. We made it out relatively unscathed and set off for home. The children must have sensed I was ready to lose what was left of my mind, they were unusually silent as we drove home, the sky was darkening and the twinkling lights of the season gave the evening a beautiful glow, I was too consumed with frustration to notice.

About a mile or so from our home is the entrance to a lovely neighborhood the kids have dubbed Christmas Light Street, the entire block lights each night with the most magical displays of Christmas cheer imaginable throughout the entire holiday season. The kids began to buzz in the back of the van, the closer we got to Christmas Light Street, the louder they became. I couldn’t take it and I yelled at them. I told them to knock it off and be quiet until we made it home.

The dead silence which followed my outburst was eerie and uncomfortable. As we passed by the fanciful wonderland, the entire day replayed in my mind, it hadn’t been as bad as I was making it out to be. I realized the conversation I’d intruded upon was filled with joy and excitement. My children were laughing and talking of Santa and baby Jesus and I yelled at them for it. I’d stolen a precious moment of perfect childhood innocence I knew I could never give back.

This realization is what brought me to the side of the road in tears. Even the memory of that moment brings tears to my eyes and a pang of sadness to my heart. When I regained what little composure I had left, I turned to them an apologized. If I could have given them each a piece of my heart I would have. They forgave me. They didn’t say it, but I saw it in their eyes. I felt unworthy as we sat there watching cars pass by. I made a u-turn and drove straight back to Christmas Light Street and we drove up and down the two blocks of twinkling delight for the better part of an hour.

We sang carols and we talked about the presents Santa would soon bring. We talked about the birth of Jesus, and for the first time in a long time I felt the magic of childhood and I vowed never to let myself become so detached from what was real and wonderful again. I have my moments of course, but I try so hard to keep myself in tune with the purity children are blessed to see each day. We live in a world that does its best to rob our children of this gift, as my children have grown I’ve seen it insinuate itself into their hearts as well. Sometimes, I am the one reminding them to hold on tightly to the simple joys in life.

I wish we could drive down Christmas Light Street every evening; I never again want to feel what I felt as I sat crying on the side of the road that night . . .

Crystal R.Cook

11 thoughts on “Regaining Wonder

  1. Pingback: Every Day mom picks! | From diapers and tutus to meetings and boardrooms

  2. This is beautifully stunning, I’m 30 years old and I still hope that I never lose any wonder, it’s not so much there any-more but I make sure that I never lose it. Christmas is still my favourite time of year, even more than my Birthday! I find when I start to lose it I spend a whole night watching Disney movies, hehe…It’s not over!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So beautifully written. And you know what, the fact that you were switched-on enough to realise what had happened, and not only that, but to go back and rectify matters and indulge your children and meet them at their level and give them such an incredible gift – your time and your engagement in their wonder – is a beautiful and amazing thing. Because many wouldn’t.

    I hope you never feel that side-of-the-road way again, either. And I hope you don’t mind my saying, but the more I learn of you, the more I immensely like you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you . . . So much 🙂 It was certainly a moment in time I have held on to, it made me a better mother, a better me, and hopefully, it was a moment my children will remember as well.

      You made me smile, as you so often do. I have been feeling a tad bit unlikable of late, maybe I’m too hard on myself 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d say so, but I feel ya there – we both hold ourselves up to standards and expectations we would NEVER hold for anyone else, I reckon.

        You’re very likeable, but what you feel and who you are can easily be two different things. Believe me. I’m in *that* place a bit lately.

        Thinking of you, and glad to make you smile. I’m absolutely certain that moment made you a better mother – it clearly made a lasting impression on you.


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