A Joyful Life

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

My son Dylan turned six on Friday, which just boggles my imagination. I can’t see how it has possibly been six years since this bundle of love and mischief and energy came into my life, into all of our lives.  

He’s truly the most joyful person I’ve ever met.

He looooves life, and living it. He loves grabbing the juice in every moment and squeezing it dry. He’s on the lookout for adventure at every turn. He’s already decided who he wants to marry, three times, and has no qualms with inviting his beautiful bus driver to his birthday party or introducing himself to police officers he encounters on the street. He gets a twinkle in his eye and can’t contain his giggles when he’s trying to trick me. Someday I’ll have to turn over my “Minister of Mischief” title to him, no doubt about it.

He’s also fearless. He got a police motorcycle for his birthday and within 24 hours had already figured out how to pop a wheelie on it.

He currently wants to be a race car driver or pit crew chief when he grows up. This was preceded by: police officer, fireman, musician, artist, and builder. 

He’s provided me with inspiration from the start, advice that I still follow to this day. Whether it is his reminder that we all need to take a moment to say “Yay Me!” from time to time, or his reminder that when it comes to “golden sun,” you should never stop at just a drop-full when you can have a whole CUP. 

And he’s not afraid to speak his mind—if he feels his sister is getting way too much of her fair share of attention he’ll loudly demand to know “Does anyone even care about ME?!?!”

By the time he was two I realized he had all the rules to life figured out, including asking for what you want, believing in yourself, staying curious, and making any moment better with a song.  That pretty much still sums it up for him, and sounds about right to me.

My Wings & Whimsy sidekick, Ali, (who has decided she and Dylan will be best friends someday) told me recently that she realized that Marlowe is my wings and Dylan is my whimsy…  and she is absolutely right. He is my whimsy, he is my joy.

And he’s my check. He’s my reminder on how to look at life. On how to love it. On how to live it.

He wakes up every morning and literally bounds out of bed looking for what he might be in the mood to play with or do, and doesn’t stop moving/talking/looking/exploring until he goes to sleep at night. He knows that life is simply ripe with possibilities at every turn, and you have to be in there to find them. 

And he’s in there. With two feet. At all times. It’s beautiful.  

So how can you take a page out of the book of DYLAN and get in there today, living life with joy and adventure and whimsy?

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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.