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  • Writer's pictureDev Friedlander

What Brings You Joy?

Today, as a mother of three children, there are many things that bring me joy. A cool breeze on a warm day, a movie with a happy ending, popcorn, blueberries, and of course my family. Before I had children, the things that brought me delight were physical gifts, praise and acts of kindness which I received from others. But after I had children, I have more joy in seeing praise and gifts given to them.

In these past few weeks, I’ve been experiencing heaps of joy. My oldest daughter became a Bat Mitzvah. The Bat Mitzvah happens when a girl turns twelve and becomes obligated to observe the laws and customs of Judaism. The occasion is usually marked by a party to celebrate this important life event; transitioning from childhood to a stage of greater independence.

At my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah party my heart swelled as I danced along with her and her many friends, who worked hard to make her glow with elation. They lifted her on high into the air on a chair, performed a song they wrote in her honor and danced their little hearts out. What could be better, I thought than seeing your child shine so brightly? I was sure that my daughter’s boundless joy was the greatest thing I could ever experience. And then she saw her grandfather at the edge of the dance floor.

Illness has made mobility hard for him, the best he could do was sit in his wheelchair and watch from the side. My daughter broke away from her friends, took her grandfather’s hand, and with the help of others, he stood up in place and they danced. A circle formed around them as grandfather and granddaughter swayed together to the music, both smiles a mile wide.

At that moment I realized there is an even greater joy than seeing my children happy. The greatest joy a parent can feel isn’t praise or gifts or even pride in their children’s accomplishments; rather it's seeing their child bring happiness to someone else.

I’d love to hear what brings you joy. Please comment below.

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