Simple Joys are the moments in life that usually happen unexpectedly, don’t cost much, and add pleasure. They may be planned, spontaneous, or a little of both, and they give you cause to step back and count your blessings. They add levity, pleasantness, and balance to your day. Simple Joys, amidst the stresses of life, are sometimes hard to come by, but if you open your heart and mind to their existence, the more readily you find and embrace them. Simple Joys are certainly not exclusively mine, I’ve just been lucky enough to recognize them, and lucky enough to have a forum to share them. Now, without further ado, is today’s Simple Joys.
Dozing. With the schedule I keep sleep has become a luxury. I know that getting the recommended amount is vital to health and other things like sanity, but I am so fixated on making my career work AND being there for my three children, husband, and house as well as exercise regularly… well, there just isn’t that much time for sleep. When exhaustion washes over me and my eyes force themselves shut I love the feeling of floating in and out of consciousness. Mind you, I only do this when my children are safe at home and I am free to let go. My body relaxes, tension flows out, relaxation washes over me, and I enter a dreamlike state of suspended animation. It rarely lasts long, the children’s radar is flawless and they will find me to rouse me if they detect I am resting. But for those few precious moments when I am dozing, indulging my basest desire to sleep and shut out the rest of the world, it is a sweet Simple Joy.
Sharing Music. Recently I created a playlist for my boys on my iPod. They have an eclectic taste in music due to my husband and my influences as well as the stuff that permeates their daily life. I allowed my oldest to pick the music, song by song, so he would like everything on it. When in the car the other day one of my favorite numbers from the Broadway Musical Wicked came on, “Defying Gravity”. This song is my personal theme song and inspires me to continue on this career/life path. When I questioned my oldest whether he liked the song or did he include it simply for my benefit, both boys said in unison, “I love it!” That in addition to the way the song resonates with me so powerfully made me break down and cry. The tears flowed freely. I was swelling with pride, emoting because my offspring feel the same about music, especially this song, as I do. From Yes to Baby Einstein, Rush to the cast of Glee, and Les Miserables to Bachman Turner Overdrive, we all rock out in the car, sing out uninhibitedly, and bond. Music, a lifelong Simple Joy for me, has been infused with new life by sharing it with my children.
The Hug. I am a very demonstrative person; I hug, kiss, and touch a lot. I make sure to tell my children how much I love them every day and I do the same for my husband. I show my affection as well. Every person is different and expresses their love in their own unique ways. My children, for the most part, are quick to hug and kiss relatives and close friends, and are very comfortable expressing love at home. My oldest child is teetering on young manhood. Nearly nine, he is still all boy, but he is embarking on the pre-teen years by trying to break away from the nest in little ways. His personality, however, is one in which he adores his home life, his family, and the safety each represents. I’ve written how this child stopped kissing me good bye in front of the bus, but still allows it before the bus arrives. Being summer, he is more relaxed. I absentmindedly gestured for a hug on the way to the car the other day and realized it so I dropped my arms. He saw the gesture and flew to my sides and insisted on the embrace. It lasted for several long seconds, an extended hug that brought back a flush of memories of when he was my only baby, my closest being dependent upon me, and the lifeblood that kept me going. I could feel his ‘babyness’, remember his wide eyes staring up at me, and marveled how the years melted away and left me with this fine young man at my side, nearly as tall as I, genuinely kind and helpful. The hug, innocent on his end, was so utterly meaningful that I teared up behind my sunglasses. He doesn’t know; no need to burden the child with his mother’s emotional state, but I was treated to the most splendid of Simple Joys by that wonderful boy I call my son.
The Fan. It was hot and humid. The air was thick and any movement led to sweat streaming out of my pores. Being dinnertime, I was standing over a hot stove with a pot of water boiling cooking the pasta. I served the meal, sat down, and realized no matter what I did I couldn’t get cool. I mentioned it offhandedly to my family, just in a conversational way, not in any expectant one. My oldest excused himself from the table before his plate was finished. He said he’d return momentarily, which he did. He brought a fan to plug in and sit in the window to point at me. I had no idea he knew how to do this simple task as it had never been asked of him. He heard my problem and immediately thought of a solution and then executed his idea. I was cooler in seconds thanks to his plan and, more importantly, I saw what a caring and compassionate individual my son is becoming. Seeing my child problem solve on my behalf was a tremendous Simple Joy to be on the receiving end.
My children tend to provide a ton of the Simple Joys I experience in my life. Too often I can get overwhelmed by appointments, carpools, and assignments and forget to “stop and smell the roses”. I was blessed with three fantastic children who are healthy and loving. Do I get frustrated by them? Yes. Do I get annoyed with them? You betcha. Would I trade them in for anything in the world? Not on your life! The Simple Joys we experience together beats anything materialistic I’ve encountered in this world. The powerful emotions, saturation of unconditional love, and feeling of peace and optimism that surface with them in my life is worth every negative I may face. By embracing the Simple Joys of daily life, laughing instead of yelling, teaching instead of taking over, I find my life is more meaningful, positive, and simply joyful.