VICARIOUS: performed or suffered by one person as a substitute for another or to the benefit or advantage of another; experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another.
Sometimes it’s my job to perform (suffer seems an appropriate word) tasks for the benefit of my children: conquering Mount Everest size laundry piles; receiving pre-chewed food in my bare hand; surviving on limited amounts of sleep that I’m pretty sure qualify as torture under international law; and preparing meals and washing dishes in what seems like a never-ending cycle.
However, motherhood also provides endless opportunities for experiencing the world through my children’s eyes. The anticipation a wrapped gift brings. The magic of snow. The exhilaration of sledding. The intriguing sound a fork makes when dropped on the floor. The humorousness of crossed eyes and tummy buzzes. The sense of accomplishment one feels upon reaching a countertop that was previously too high. The total transformation a cape provides. The fun of hiding under a pile of laundry. The satisfaction upon watching a parent recoil with fear.
So many things are new for them and as their mother I have the opportunity to vicariously experience things in all the intensity and grandeur that newness brings. And that newness keeps life fresh. It’s like breaking the rule of mathmatics and getting two first times.