Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Simple Joys

Life can get overwhelming, difficult, stressful, and, at times, depressing. I can fall captive to these oppressive feelings and mire in my own agony, but I'm trying to choose not to any more. Yes, I'm choosing, instead, to find my "happiness" amidst all of the negativity I encounter throughout the day. To do this I take the advice from scores of people and the score of the Broadway musical Pippin and find my "Simple Joys". As diverse as the American population, what provides me 'Simple Joys" changes from day to day and even hour to hour, but being able to find and keep the joy in my life for as long as possible is the goal. Finding "Simple Joys" is far more rewarding and spontaneous than waiting for one huge planned joy. Here are some of my favorite joys of the simple variety of late.

On Christmas morning my oldest son handed me two packages to unwrap, both having come from his Holiday Boutique at school prior to the winter break. The first was a stunningly beautiful pair of blue stone "gem" earrings. The child knows his mother enjoys jewelry and wears it all of the time. Blue is his favorite color; it was a very touching present. The second gift was a combination pen and bookmark with a special message about Mom. Clearly he had taken time and thought to lovingly pick out these items for me. He was proud, at eight years old, to hand me these packages and see the delight when I unwrapped them. I was touched to the core to see my son really knows me and values me. I am still riding that 'joy wave'!

Yesterday my second son who attends Nursery School and is four years old, told me upon pick up that he made me a "bracelet but long enough that it will fit and you can wear it as a necklace but I made it as a bracelet and it's all red and you can wear it with your red heart ring everyday." I asked the dear child if this was to be a Valentine's Day gift and he said yes. We left school, had lunch together (another joy dining out together at his favorite restaurant that rhymes with McBonald's) and came home where upon he took this well-crafted and exceptional red bead necklace out of his book bag and presented it unceremoniously to me. I told him how gorgeous it was and he seemed pleased but more interested in watching television. I told him it was perfect for Mommy to wear as a necklace (and it truly is) and slipped it on immediately once he assured me that it was not to be saved for Valentine's Day but to be worn and enjoyed starting now. I'd be lying if I said I was just being nice about gushing over the piece and stating how gorgeous it is. The kid is a real talent and made an incredible necklace. I will be wearing it often and proudly, mixed in with my jewels and strutting like a peacock. This kid is going to excel at whatever he decides to do when he grows up! This was a definite joy yesterday.

My daughter offers myriad joys to me, as do my sons. She, on the other hand, is nearly sixteen months old and those of you with children know this is a most trying age. Inquisitive (read "into everything"), able to understand but refuses to heed instruction, and stubborn, one-year-olds are, in my opinion, the "terrible twos" as it is their second year of life. But even with all of the endless "no's" I repeat hourly (minutely?) and the boundary setting I'm doing constantly, there is still so much joy to be found in one's own precious child. At night, after I brush her tiny baby teeth, we look in the mirror of the medicine cabinet at each other. I wave to her and she waves back (usually). Then I say, "Night night" and sometimes she mimics me. Then I always follow up with "Love you" and kiss her. She's said that, too, although now that she knows I LOVE when she says it, she rarely offers it up anymore. But, whenever I say, "Kiss", this beautiful, willful child nearly always bends her head to me so I can kiss her. I must admit, I melt each and every time she does this. Being a "third-time Mom" hasn't jaded me to this most simple yet powerful joy!

Finding old and new friends on Facebook is a definite joy for me. When a "blast from the past" reenters my life I am exhilarated and compelled to reach out to the person. And, when a new friend is made, it is so gratifying to know my social circle is still expanding and I am able to "make friends" as easily as I did in school. Facebook has expanded not only my "social network" but also my horizons. I find endless joy in connecting with my many friends from all parts of my life on Facebook and count it as another one of my "Simple Joys".

Spending time with my offline friends in a casual an fun setting is another joy that has made all seasons in my life more rich and rewarding. From dinners at home to family vacations spent together, holiday celebrations and children's birthday parties, and phone calls and text messages, my friends are cherished and needed. They lift my spirits, support me, and make me laugh until I cry. I look forward to seeing them and relish the time we get to just hang out together.

My husband, I must admit, is always first on my list of "Simple Joys". He is the person I most want to spend time, connect, and hang out. We still enjoy one another and are happiest together. But this may be the secret to "Simple Joys". Knowing what you have, appreciating it, and not looking beyond where you are and what you have seem to be the winning combination on how to get through any crisis life throws at us. Perspective can be so difficult to find and maintain, but allowing yourself to refocus at any given time to find the joy around you is most powerful. I've often been told, especially by that wise husband of mine, to "Keep It Simple, Silly" (KISS). What's more simple than finding your "Simple Joys"?

Care to share some of your "Simple Joys"? Music, sports, wood-working, racing, painting, running, or anything else that creates "Simple Joys" are what I'm looking for here. Maybe your joy can inspire others... and it would make me smile. Send me a smile today. That's another one of my "Simple Joys"!


  1. Nicely put. A very good piece, we loved reading it.
    Mom and Dad

  2. After just getting back from seeing my very sick grandmother... there were a few things during my visit with her that I am still giggling to myself about. Since these are the forefront right now here they are.

    When you see photos of my grandmother you'll notice that in 99% of them, she has a drink in her hand. When she holds the glass up her pointer finger is always extended. While trying to get my grandmother to take sips of water or 7-Up, when holding the cup, she still extended that pointer finger and I just had to giggle.

    When my grandmother puts her hand to her face she always puts her thumb to her jaw, the pointer finger to her temple, the middle and ring fingers are folded under and her pinkie nail to her bottom lip. Even in her weakened state, she continues to do this to. Makes me smile.

    And growing up, there was a drawer in her kitchen that always held Certs or BreathSavers. When the family visited, my brother and I would always get one before we left. My grandmother has her assisted living apartment set up very similar to her home. I found a roll of BreathSavers in the top drawer. :D My mom let me take the entire roll. I've told my kids they better not dare open up and eat them... They were her last roll. When I saw the little kitchen drawer in the apartment, I KNEW they would be in there.

    At my last visit with her before going to the airport, I was freshening up her drink and remembered that whenever we left her house she always told us to "ring twice" so she knew we got home safe. I told her that I would "ring twice" at my mom's house when I got home and that my mom would let her know. My grandmother gave me a knowing "eye twinkle".

    Those are my simple joys that I hadn't realized were simple joys. I have many others if I thought about them, but those I mentioned are the extra special ones right now.