I have to admit that there have been times lately where I've been desperate for people to pay attention to me and do stuff for me. I think this comes naturally at times for everyone, and probably more frequently for parents. Some of this is my own doing I'm sure, because a part of me really likes being the provider. It even extends to work, where I strive to help others and do the right things.
It also happens to be one of the things that I thought would be great about working for a theme park company. Unfortunately, it wasn't much the case for me, as the corporate office is so disconnected from the parks. This is double true for contractors, since we didn't have park access. But I still get that context from decades of visiting parks as a guest. You see a thousand little moments happen around you, and even having nothing to do with them, it's awesome.
While I might need a little attention at times, there's no question that I get a lot of joy from seeing others experience joy. Simon is a little obsessed with Journey Into Imagination at Epcot, a horribly dated and annoying attraction that hasn't been updated since the 90's. But you know what, he smiles through that entire ride, and now he's been trying to sing the song from it. It's funny how something I've grown to dislike, I like anyway because it makes him so happy.
More importantly, I try to be in situations where I can see people be happy like that, whether I have anything to do with it or not. It's everything from my wife's satisfaction when she completes a quilting project, to my BFF feeding a giraffe. It's the nod two fathers give each other at Give Kids The World Village, not knowing each other but understanding each other's world. (By the way, still seeking donations for Coasting For Kids!)
It's too easy to get sucked into the drama and nonsense around you. Even experiencing joy by proxy is better for the soul.