As mothers we’re all pretty tired most of the time, worn down from the demands of raising the most important people on earth, and we need each other’s company to share in the difficulties and confide in the hardships.

Sharing helps us feel less alone in our endeavors and assuages our insecurities and doubts. It was very therapeutic for me to start writing for WMB a year ago, especially during a particularly difficult period when I shared my motherhood experiences while living in Mexico in my post “Living Under House Arrest“.

It is a great gift that we can learn from and lean on each other by sharing the difficult moments,but today I need to write about the immense joy that I feel as a parent. The joy that is still expanding inside of me since last night, forcing me to find an outlet to wax on about how happy I am before I explode.

In my sharing, I hope to celebrate my joy with you as well as allow all of us to remember the fleeting moments that make this whole parenting thing so immeasurably worthwhile. You will know what I mean…

Last night before I went to sleep, I couldn’t help staring at the pictures I took of my children laughing after we ate dinner. The more I stared, the more my tears welled. Tears of love that made me feel my whole body swell up like a balloon.

Unlike other nights, our twins did not leap from the dinner table after declaring “All done now mommy!” and run off to play. Rather, they lingered at the table just to be with my husband and me. We had short mini-conversations as you do with limited vocabulary, mispronunciations and sentences limited to five-words; not to mention the short attention span.

In between topics of what they did at school (which may or may not have occurred, we never know for certain), the two of them gave each other looks that elicited a sly smile and a call to do something funny or naughty. It could be the slightest thing—completely undetectable by us but understood by a twin—that would send the two of them into a hearty belly laugh, the kind where their entire body moves up and down and they have to take a long draw of breath to start up more giggles.

There we were, all four of us laughing in unison. I felt the kind of happiness that made me believe I could die and I’d be fine with having that moment as the last imprint on my mind. So I grabbed the camera knowing the risks that doing so might arrest the precious moment by introducing a curiosity.

Luckily, it didn’t distract them since by that time their dad started making funny noises that sent them into roars of laughter. Their delight was unstoppable while I snapped away at the moments like a shark on a feeding frenzy, chomping up as many ear-to-ear teeth-baring grins as I can into the camera.

Within a span of two minutes or less, I knew that I had successfully captured those moments to stay with me for the rest of my days.

I edited the pictures, which were mostly blurry due to low lighting and fast-moving gigglers, and decided to compile them into a collage. Somehow looking at them one by one didn’t accurately depict the kinetic scene but mostly it didn’t satisfy my need to see them all together. I wanted to hoard all that joy into one image.

Looking at the pictures last night, I felt two enigmatic desires: one was the desire to hold on tight to my children at this age, have them stay this way forever; the other desire was to have them grow, learn, experience, and live life for everything it has to offer.

My heart was excited for how wonderful they are now while at the same time excited for who they will be and for what they will do. How can I desire two conflicting outcomes, both of which are just as joyful as the other? It was confusing yet satisfying and so unique that I’m still trying to figure it out a day later.

All I can think of is to call it joy. Joy that the moments passed were great, joy that the moment now is great, joy that future moments will be great. In all directions there is joy, just simply JOY.

Celebrate with us your moments of parental joy. Or do you have a different way to describe that feeling?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our mother of twins writer, Dee Harlow in Virginia, USA. Later this year, Dee will be writing from Laos. But now and then, can always find her writing on her blog, Wanderlustress.

The photograph used in this post is attributed to the author. It’s Ode to Joy.

Dee Harlow (Laos)

One of Dee’s earliest memories was flying on a trans-Pacific flight from her birthplace in Bangkok, Thailand, to the United States when she was six years old. Ever since then, it has always felt natural for her to criss-cross the globe. So after growing up in the northeast of the US, her life, her work and her curiosity have taken her to over 32 countries. And it was in the 30th country while serving in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan that she met her husband. Together they embarked on a career in international humanitarian aid working in refugee camps in Darfur, Sudan, and the tsunami torn coast of Aceh, Indonesia. Dee is now a full-time mother of three-year old twins and continues to criss-cross the globe every two years with her husband who is in the US Foreign Service. They currently live in Vientiane, Laos, and are loving it! You can read about their adventures at Wanderlustress.

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