Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Simple Joys

Tuesdays are Simple Joys days. That doesn’t mean I only have Simple Joys on Tuesday, but it is the day to showcase all of them weekly. My life, crazy, hectic, busy, a bit out-of-control, and hard, is still full of Simple Joys. I believe it’s because I now am keenly aware of them that I find them much more readily. Last week I showcased an entire Simple Joys piece about my oldest child. That was a “special edition”. This week I return to the mold that encompasses all Simple Joys in my life across the board. I hope you will join me in not only reading my Simple Joys, but also writing or at least thinking of your very own. Like anything, finding your Simple Joys simply takes practice. The more you do it, the more attuned your become to it! Without further ramblings, here is this week’s Simple Joys.

The Zoo. Recently my family and I planned a day outing to a local zoo with our dear friends. A mild spring day was forecasted for this Saturday and we all played hooky from our children’s scheduled swim lesson to enjoy a day at the zoo. We had an amazingly fun, relaxing, and spirited good time. Walking the zoo gave us plenty of exercise, the children (and parents) delighted in the animals, displays, and information, and the reasonable rates made the day seem like a mini-vacation! Finding a few hours of great escapism in your own region is a wonderful Simple Joy.

Date Night. Finding time to date one’s spouse is very important. It keeps the focus on one another and not the children, the bills, work, or the house. Getting dressed like you did when you were dating, talking about your interests and getting consumed with one another without distractions is the goal. My husband and I had a date night this week. It had been too long since the last one. The whole day was filled with intense anticipation for our time away from our children and with each other. We actually had a double date with one of our favorite couples and it was a great way to just hang out and be “us”, not just “moms and dads”. We ate at a fine restaurant (not a prerequisite for date night as being together is the key, not how much you spend), laughed hard, and held hands. If you have lost track of your mate, plan a date night. Beg, borrow, trade for a baby-sitter, plan the day/night, and fall in love again with each other. It works, truly it does! And hey, falling in love with your own spouse again and again is, quite frankly, one of the grandest Simple Joys there is!

Karate. Although I am currently on a hiatus from Karate to care for my children at night, I still have a Karate family I care for deeply. This week four of these people went for their black belt. The test is private, arduous, sleep depriving, and hard and culminates in a line fight for each against a line of black belts. That portion of the test people are allowed and encouraged to attend to cheer on the candidates. It is a test of determination, wherewithal, and stamina. Giving up is not an option if one wants to earn their black belt. But the fighting is hard when a line of freshly rested, strong, and confident black belts literally beats on each candidate. My family and I go to cheer, encourage, cajole, and urge the candidates to keep going, not to give up, and to TAKE their black belts that they so richly deserve. Since my family joined the dojo in 2007, we’ve attended every line fight for black belt testing. We arrange our schedule to show our support, offer much needed encouragement, and expose our children to both the intensity of the test but also the compassion of those around. One day our children, and perhaps even my husband and I, will be taking the test to earn our respective black belts. It will give me immense pleasure to have the support from our dojo family. In the meantime, attending the black belt line fights is a Simple Joy.

Laughing. I love to laugh. Seriously, it’s a favorite pastime of mine! Finding people who can make me laugh, consistently, draws me to them and solidifies my friendship with them. My friends, the ones who we attended the zoo and shared date night, fit the bill brilliantly. When we are together I know I will wind up laughing so hard that tears spring from my eyes! I’ve had to give up my regular mascara for waterproof, as “raccoon” is simply not a good look for me. Funny individually, this couple, together, is comedic genius! Finding friends to surround yourself who are strong and supportive when need be, and make you laugh until your sides split and your mouth hurts from the act, that is one of life’s most special Simple Joys.

Dressing. I have two little boys and a little girl. I am passionate about all three of my children. I’ve delighted in making them dressed well over the years, finding handsome clothes for my boys designed in blues, greens, reds, khaki, and a rainbow of other colors. I found racecar shirts, puppies, trains, monster trucks, and a host of other novelty motifs that are so cute, cool, and fun. My boys like to be comfortable, look good, and have taken a great attitude about clothing, never eschewing a gift of clothing for Christmas or a birthday. But my world did change when my daughter arrived. Dressing a little girl is, for this woman, a very special treat. Pink, frills, ruffles, bows, details, and smocking are all part of my vocabulary and her wardrobe. Dresses, skirts, tutus, tights and Mary Janes (the classic shoe) populate her wardrobe and not only give me pleasure, but my eighteen-month-old daughter as well! She adores looking at, touching, and wearing clothes! She loves to put on beaded necklaces, Mommy’s bangle bracelets, and comb her (still) non-existent hair. Her favorite accessory is her winter coat. She wears it everywhere, including in the house! She whimpers and cries until it is put on her. She sashays around the house happily once it is safely around her, zippered up and buttoned! As spring temperatures (theoretically) begin to warm our region, I can’t help but wonder what she will do when the winter coat goes into storage?! I’ll have to introduce her to cardigan sweaters for her little dresses! The bottom line is, dressing my daughter has been an infinite supply of Simple Joys.

It saddens me for a moment to realize it is time to end the week’s edition of Simple Joys as I am so blessed to have an endless supply of them to write! But I quickly remember that there is always next week and that I get an equal amount of joy sending the article out to the public for consumption as well as reading about your Simple Joys. Have a wonderful week and please join me tomorrow as I send up another topic that I feel necessary to wax poetic.


  1. Awww...you make me blush! It's wonderful to have people who laugh at the stuff I say instead of giving me the pitying, somewhat catatonic stare I have grown used to...

  2. Karen, my manager told me I needed to be involved in a charity; I chose you! Glad to see my goodworks are paying off. ;-)

  3. Winning a trophy for driving up a grassy hill :-)

  4. New music on my iPod! My music was getting stale and I finally broke down and purchased 16 new songs off of my insanely large iTunes Wish List. I feel better now. Kind of "glowy."

    I laugh at myself when a song comes on my iPod and I catch myself smiling or even audibly saying, "Oh I like this song!" Um- DUH! I CHOSE the songs to be ON the iPod! Why would there be a song on the iPod that I DIDN'T like?! Simply joy.