The other day we were at the mall playground and as Anna played, I found myself watching the conductor on the children's train that runs around the lower level of the mall. His "train station" is right in front of the playground, and part of his "track" goes around the playground walls, so he was going by us just about every 5-7 minutes. And I was captivated.
I realized that day that every time we've been at the mall, he has been the conductor. No matter what day or time we are there. So this guy, who is easily in his 70's, is here all day, every day, running the same track over and over, all for people willing to shell out $2 a ticket. But it really seems like he's having the time of his life. Every single "All aboard!" is as chipper as the last. He waves enthusiastically at all of the kids, and the whole time he has a huge smile on his face. He loves his job, and you can tell just by looking at him.
Watching him made me remember a compliment a stranger once paid me, and it was one of the sweetest compliments that I've ever received. A little old lady told me, "I can tell that you really love being a mother. And I know you are going to do such a good job because enjoying your job is the most important part of being a parent." Such a random thing for a stranger to say in the checkout line at Marshall's, but you know what? She was absolutely right. And seeing the train conductor reminded me that no matter how repetitive, how unglamorous, or how seemingly unimportant your job might seem at any given time - there is magic to be found and that joy makes all the difference in the world.
I always want my children to know that I love being their mother more than anything in the world, and while it might seem unimportant or meaningless to scrub floors and do endless loads of laundry and read the same Dr. Seuss books until the pages fall out, I really do find so much joy in giving them a happy, healthy life. Are some days harder than others? Of course. We're not robots and we're not Stepford wives (or Stepford train conductors). But I know, from the bottom of my heart, that keeping that joy is the key to my success as a loving, patient, and kind wife and mother. Even if it sometimes takes a cheerful "All aboard" to remind me of it.