Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™ Chatter. It used to be that if something went wrong, a fight erupted or plans were changed last minute, I was so inflexible that my day, week, or holiday season was ruined. I was the type of person who would over dramatize the importance of a bad moment, give far too much weight to its meaning and was unable to let go of the resentments I let build up. What I found was not only did it color the moods of those around me in a negative way when I behaved this way; I was often miserable. This was no way to live. In fact, it wasn’t living at all. So, with the help of therapy, the acceptance of a brand new perspective, and the freeing knowledge I have the power to start my day over at any time, I have learned to embrace my life, bumps and all, with a renewed enthusiasm, and, even when things go in a way differently than I would have liked, I get passed it as quickly as humanly possible, too. Looking for and, indeed, creating Simple Joys helps tremendously in this vain. By always searching for the best in my days I find far more good than bad. By staying positive I emit positivity which becomes contagious. By smiling I receive smiles. The formula is ridiculously easy yet most difficult to learn if one is set in one’s ways. Time, the desire to change, and the willingness to accept Simple Joys will go far to change a negative perspective to a positive one. Food for thought. Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.
Days Off. On the heels of a week off of school due to the freak late October snowstorm, my children had a short week because the New Jersey Teacher’s Convention. For the first time my husband arranged to take the same two days off of work and we spent another long period of time together. I don’t mean to belabor the point, but having the time off has truly been wonderful! From working together on home chores to playing Wii Lego games in pajamas, eating meals in or dining out on a shoestring budget, we just enjoyed one another’s company! Without other distractions like holidays, having time off to just be with one another was a Simple Joy I had not experienced in a long time and look forward to again!
Tom Chapin. I rarely include events that cost money because I feel it takes away from the "simple" of Simple Joys. This event, on the contrary, is less about the concert Tom Chapin gave, but the events that surrounded it. A local historic children’s theater was recently refurbished and reopened. Tom Chapin, historically and emotionally attached to the town where the theater is located, agreed to a concert where no more than fifty people could attend. We decided the day before to get tickets and were successful. Getting there early for general seating, we secured our seats and realized we’d better let the kids explore so they might be more apt to sit during the concert. They delighted in the gorgeous paintings on the walls, the intricate details in the moldings, and the magical air of the theater. Other families milled about, but none with children as young as our two-year-old daughter who was dressed to the nines
and fully enjoying herself, giggling loudly at the antics of her brothers, dancing to music she alone heard, and flirting with strangers. Once the concert began and Tom Chapin, who is truly an engaging, talented, and fantastic musician/performer, my daughter decided she did not want to sit and listen. Most of the night I spent in the anteroom of the theater, fully able to listen to the concert, but not see which was a shame as the visuals were worthwhile in such an intimate setting. Regardless, my daughter was thrilled to have her momma all to herself. We danced, we played games, “Where’s Rosie’s nose? Where’s Momma’s nose?”, we visited the ladies’ room, and we cuddled. My husband was afraid I’d be frustrated by these turn of events, and I might have been another time. But, the chance to expose my children to this setting and this class act, the opportunity to spend quality time alone with my daughter who found me far me entertaining and interesting than the performer, and stepping out to such a wondrous night is a Simple Joy I will carry with me for a lifetime.
Tacos/pizza. Friday night was taco night. This is one meal that all three of our children agree is the best dinner! We had chicken tacos with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, black olives, and both hard and soft taco shells. Our children eat them up ravenously and we feel good not hearing complaining and seeing empty plates and full bellies! Having leftovers in our home is not only good but orchestrated. Then next day for our lunch I took out my trusty crusty pizza crust,
recreated our taco dinner on the dough, and baked it off in a hot oven. Once again our children ate the meal like it was their absolute favorite; we finished the leftovers from the night’s before dinner, and even had leftover pizza to enjoy for another meal in the near future! Why am I including food in Simple Joys instead of Tantalizing Thursday? Because watching my children eat and not complaining is an incomparable Simple Joy that had to be shared!
Star Wars Monopoly. I’m feeling like I’ve written about this game before, but it’s earned another mention. After putting our daughter to bed, my husband turned off the television and said to our sons, “Get the Monopoly game out, the Star Wars one.” What resulted was an epic sixty minute battle for monopolies, star fleets, Death Stars, and Republic Credits. What was forged was a bond between our boys and us that solidifies, once again, a strong relationship. It also proved to me that our five year old is a true financial genius who is extraordinarily lucky. It’s like living with a three foot Donald Trump! The whole experience was a Simple Joy I hope to revisit often!
After dinner. With three young children, dinner time is the least relaxing part of the day. Two need assistance eating, one could subsist on air so we have to coax him to eat, and there is noise, cajoling, and raucous laughter throughout because someone is either burping or tooting or both. Finally, after several minutes that seem like hours, the children declare they are finished eating, their father and I decide they are allowed to be excused, and the mass exodus ensues. As the dust (literally) settles, the crumbs taunt me on the floor, the chairs, and the tablecloth; I let out a long, audible sigh. My husband and I shake our heads and offer each other a supportive grin. We’d survived yet another meal. In these post-dinner moments before the dishes need our attention, my husband and I reconnect; sometimes for a few seconds, and, when we’re truly lucky, for several long minutes, to talk, listen, and just be. They are the priceless minutes of our day that are the most precious periods of Simple Joys.
When my radar detects stresses in the near future, I’ve learned to supply my arsenal with my strongest weapons – Simple Joys. Writing these Simple Joys for lo these many months has seriously made my life fuller, richer, calmer, and, plainly, more joyful. Knowing that the day offers endless opportunities for Simple Joys makes the hard parts, the stressful situations, and the sad seconds melt away faster, easier, and with less pain. Writing Simple Joys has helped with my perspective tenfold. Whether you write yours or simply think about them, I hope you are finding that recognizing the Simple Joys that exist in your life makes life simply wonderful.
Please join me tomorrow on Chief 187™Chatter when I wax poetic about yet another topic!