Have you ever experienced PURE Happiness, the unadulterated feeling of joy?
Recently, I attended my son’s first official sports day at his school. The week before, he had been excitedly practicing running at his school, at the playground, even at home, running from one room to another. As a mother, my worry was primarily, he injuring himself, so I cautioned him to always run in a straight line i.e. not to overstep into the other contestants’ tracks. My son, of all three years, understood but never acknowledged it.
So when we reach the venue of the sports day, he gets overwhelmed with the huge crowd of anxious parents and charged up classmates. We are seated separately, so that makes him more insecure. However the celebrations start and he is enjoying the band playing and he watches the balloons fly away as a mark of commencement of his first Sports Day.
I see a lot of parents trying to grab the perfect seat on the ground to catch a glimpse of their child. However, once the race starts, there is some excitement in the air as the crowd cheers for every child unknowingly and makes each one feel more confident about facing a bigger audience. I watch as my son starts his stretching exercise, which I am sure his teachers must have shown him in the previous week. Then comes the time of the race and he takes his place in the last row, waving out to me. I indicate to him to listen to the coach when he says go instead. Since he is only three years old, he is caught up in the energy of the ground. I am silently praying to god to just keep him safe, because I really don’t care if he doesn’t win – only want him injury free.
So there he is waving to me and the coach indicates to the class to get set and go! And he runs, he runs as if he doesn’t care if he is going to win. He runs and all I can do is watch how he maintains his pace in his own track, just like I had told him and he WINS. He comes third. That moment when he is running and he wins, that exact moment is when I felt pure happiness, as if the surrounding cheering parents meant nothing, as if everything was in slow motion and in that one minute I have experienced so much of joy. Then he looks up at me and shows me the thumbs up sign indicating that he is also happy. But for him, the win is not important, he got to run in his favorite shoes and with his heart and that’s what freedom felt like for him. As I look back and ponder, even if he didn’t win the race I would be very happy because I was a part of his freedom. I was part of his joy and he was happy because he loved doing what his heart desired.
Before the race started I didn’t think there was going to be any winners, as I felt the children were too young to be exposed to competition. But I realized that even though the rest of the children didn’t win the certificate, they were still jumping and running around with their friends. Competition was only in the minds of the parents I guess and never among the kids. This may change once they grow up, but I hope I can help him in his failures as much as I did rejoice in his success.
3rd January, 2014.