I was reminded one week ago why the pony doesn’t win. When I was finished with bedtime stories, I sat on the edge of F’s bed. He’s nearly 4 1/2 years old now (he’s counting the days), full of ideas but also still busting with thoughtfulness. We’d had a day out of a story book. Really. It started with an Easter party (with chocolate!) at a neighbor’s home, an Easter egg hunt at our local park, a spotting of the Easter Bunny, a balloon artist, and A PONY RIDE. A pony ride! By the end of the day, the sun was out and I was full, satiated, calm, and feeling very connected to my boys.  The husband was on call, so I had the boys primarily to myself for the majority of the day. As we readied for a night of sleep,we snuggled in. Mindful of the day and noting the space, I finished reading the book and asked him a question.  I wouldn’t have thought to tell you the next part, but you’ll need to know more to understand his answer.

After the hoopla of the morning, my mom came over. The clouds opened and the sun joined us. When F didn’t take a nap, I invited him outside to help my mom and me dig holes, haul dirt, and put new plants in the ground. The sun was warm and evident, the dirt wasn’t wet. The hand trowel, just F’s size. He helped us prepare the new plants, move small rocks out of the way, and put peat and soft fluffy soil around the newly potted plants. He was an integral part of our landscaping team. We were thankful. His enthusiasm ushered me through the hours of yard work (not usually my favorite task).

“What was you favorite part of the day?” I asked just before I left the room and turned out the light.

A beat went by. It was as if he was going through the Rolodex of the day.

“Gardening,” he said matter-of-factly.

See? Life is really about who you’re with and how you fit in amidst your people. It’s this connection, this sense of contribution, this sense of completion that can keep us going. Part of why it’s often just so nice to help. Even a pony doesn’t overpower how good it can be to feel included and useful. See? The pony doesn’t always win.