"Logan! Isabelle! Emma!" The names became mantras of Kathryn's joy! The other children may have wondered what she was up to, but they didn't show it. They stood there, reveling in the attention that Kathryn poured out upon them. And then, as often happens when children come together, their own happiness overflowed. They all began running in circles, laughing and shouting out each other's names and the names of those yet to arrive. Round and round they all ran as if chasing each other in endless pursuit.
Their mothers became unglued. They didn't know what to make of all of the uncontrolled energy--crackling like electricity in the air surrounding them. Something had to be done.
"These kids are out of control!" exclaimed Mrs. McPheerful.
"Yes! We need to do something!" agreed Mrs. Power.
"Kathryn started it! She always gets the others all riled up!" said the judge's wife. "Make her behave!" she demanded of Kathryn's mother.
"Yes! She's always the instigator. She should be punished!" Mrs. Law proclaimed.
Aware and attentive in spite of her activity, Kathryn overheard the conversation. She didn't understand.
"Am I doing something wrong?" she wondered. "I'm just being happy It's fun to run and play! Why do they think I'm bad?"
Puzzled, she stopped running and looked at her mother, hoping for answers. In her wisdom, her mother smiled at Kathryn and winked.
"Kathryn's just being Kathryn," she told others. "She's excited to see her friends. And, what better place to run in circles than out here on the lawn?"
Reassured of her goodness, Kathryn smiled back, scrunching her face into a crooked wink of her own. Then she began to run again, singing this time around.
Her mother relaxed.
"Look how happy Kathryn is today," she thought to herself. "The pure innocence of childhood is so fleeting. Why squelch it? We should all be rejoicing in the beauty of this fall day."
Like Kathryn, she was a leader in her own right. With wisdom and composure, Kathryn's mom stepped up and stood her ground, advocating on Kathryn's behalf. By not bowing to the pressure of her peers, she learned something about being a mother. Gazing at her daughter, her heart was filled.
"Love is unconditional," she reminded herself.
For their part, the other mothers, too, began to relax and enjoy the moment. Laughing at the their children's antics, they remembered something of what it was like to be a child. And they understood. It wasn't that Kathryn was misbaving. None of them were. Kathryn knew that life was to be celebrated. She was full of joy and her running helped to spread it throughout the group. When it settled upon them, they caught it, too. Joy is contagious.