Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Unexpected joy

Nothing could have prepared me for the joy of seeing my son ride his bike.
It’s the kind of joy you don’t feel very often. Real, heart thumping, blood rushing, face glowing, smile inducing, shout out as loud as you can joy. I could feel my whole body open out into one huge smile as he disappeared off in front of me, on his own two wheels.
This is more than just happiness, it's the kind of joy people tell you that you should feel on all those important occasions (but I never really did).
Your wedding day (fun but planned), finding out you’re pregnant (sick inducing), holding your new baby in your arms (thank god it’s over). None of those events made me feel the joy of the bike ride.
Because the very best kind of joy is totally unexpected. It’s not something you’re prepared for, no one is telling you to feel it, your mind isn’t willing your body on. It just happens, it rushes over you in an all-consuming way. That kind of joy is rare.
Up until then my most joyous moment was the Ryan Giggs goal against Arsenal in the ’99 FA Cup Semi-final replay. I’ve never felt joy like it, happiness like it, shared love like it (fallen over several rows of seats like it).  Or the Schmeichel penalty save in that same game – I mean, have you ever witnessed a crucial penalty save? It’s unbelievable.
Great joy often springs from great tension. It’s the exhilarating release of emotion that totally takes you by surprise. Making something you thought was impossible, look incredibly easy. My son, riding his bike.
So Sir Ryan Giggs – you’ve been relegated to second place in the all-time joyous top ten.
My new favourite moment is my 4 year old son going it alone on his bike, free of stabilisers. BOOM.
I get a rush just thinking about it