Simple Joys is now officially my favorite regular feature of this site. Having to put my Simple Joys in black and white weekly has made me a more positive and aware person. I allow ever more joy into my life knowing how good it makes me feel, how easy it is to accept, and how contagious the act is. I hope by simply reading these weekly blogs you, too, have added more joys into your life and are more aware of the joys around you. And now, without further ado, this week’s Simple Joys.
Pillow Talk. My favorite times of the night are when I can lay down next to my sons, individually, and simply talk. We may talk about the day, a wish, a coveted toy, or an upcoming event. We stare at one another in close contact; I stroke his hair, and tell him how beautiful he is. We may laugh, yawn, or be pensive, but we’re together, sharing a special moment. The oldest child, 8, may confide in me about an issue at school, a fear, or a joy. The middle child, 4, may tell a lengthy story, a silly joke, or tell me how beautiful I am! We do this talking after I read a story and before it’s lights out. It is a way for us to stay connected, wash away any unpleasantness from earlier in the day, and end the evening on a loving note. My daughter is a bit too young for this as she is only seventeen months old, but I look forward to our own version of pillow talk! I also utilize this custom with my husband before we turn in to bed. It is a calming, enriching, and sacred part of the bedtime ritual that keeps us solidified and individually valued as members of the family.
Team Work. My husband has a rare opportunity to work on Sunday and earn some overtime, something we desperately need. I was sorry to lose a day with him, but happy to have this financial windfall. My children and I awoke, had breakfast, cleaned the house together, and ran an errand. We made lunch at home, put the baby girl down for her nap, and started our big chore of the day. The chore was to get rid of all of the sticks and debris in the backyard. We have a nice-sized yard with a lovely lawn my husband cares for passionately. At winter’s end the lawn is in need of resurrecting and decluttering. To surprise my husband I told my sons that we were to go outside as a team and start to remove all of the sticks we could find. I sent them out ahead of me so I could clean up the lunch dishes. When I peered out the window I could see them clearly working and taking their task seriously. By the time I joined them they had done more than half the job and done it well! I helped get the job finished. When we returned to the warm house, the yard looked fantastic and ready for some much-needed TLC that my husband is famous. I couldn’t have been more proud of my boys for pitching in and working hard when I know they’d rather play Legos or watch television. To reward their efforts I even gave them a couple of dollars each – they were thrilled! I told them that they were expected to do certain chores around the house as part of living in our home, but they had done a phenomenal job without complaining so they had earned the money. I am a proud parent.
Random Acts of Kindness. I have been the recipient of several of these acts throughout my life. Here are some recent examples. I took my four and one year old to our local McDonald’s for lunch and ordered them each a Happy Meal. The girl toy was nothing great so I asked for two boy toys. My son desperately wanted a Batman toy but we were given two Superman toys. The young lady, a manager who knew I was a regular customer, asked me to hold on to the toys, unopened, until she had a chance to check the back for the Batman toys. We ate our lunch, which is always delicious, hot, and prepared properly at this location, and she came back to our table holding 2 Batman toys! My son handed his Superman toys to the lady and she told him no, he could keep them all. Then she asked him if he’d rather have 1 Batman and 1 Robin. He agreed and she disappeared briefly only to return with the promised Robin. She insisted he keep all four toys at no extra charge. That is truly a random and most lovely act of kindness. Is it good business? Yes, but she knew I’d return even if she’d only conducted a trade. By gifting the two extra toys she simply added to our joy factor.
The other random acts of kindness are from my friend Bill. He constantly champions my writing and radio career, tweets my links, and leaves me helpful and encouraging messages. These little acts add up to joy everywhere I look. As a teacher I have had no real understanding how far my influence has been. As an online writer and friend, I’m seeing that my “nice” personality (which I promise is genuine!) is returned to me tenfold. Smiling, issuing a compliment, and truly inquiring after someone often encourage returned acts in the same manner. We should all be so lucky to have a friend like Bill, a sweet manager at the local fast food store, or someone in our lives who simply cares.
I hope your day is filled with unexpected surprises and niceties. I also hope you are compelled to write your Simple Joys of the week. If nothing else, I truly hope you are someone who spreads Simple Joys as you go about your business.
Thank you for reading. Please join me tomorrow as we dissect yet another interesting topic.