Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Simple Joys

Simple Joys have become my signature post at Chief 187 Chatter. What started out as a one off earlier this year has become the weekly favorite among my readers. I am so pleased that focusing on the daily pleasures all around has resonated so deeply. Stresses are real, frustrations can occur, and resentments can fester, but a dip in the Simple Joys pool refreshes and reinvigorates one soul. I urge you to join me in creating your own Simple Joys list. Whether written or thought about, shared or concealed, the act of focusing on the good in life is powerful enough to offset the bad. And, as I find out weekly, Simple Joys beget Simple Joys. Once you allow the consciousness of the Simple Joys all around, you identify more and more of them. Now, without further ado, here is this week’s Simple Joys.

My Daughter’s Kiss. I was struck within the same week with the enormity of tenderness my children can convey with a touch. It left me breathless with each individual encounter, and hyper aware how quickly these special moments will be faint memories. My daughter, still at a frustratingly high-maintenance age (19 months) is constantly wiggling away from me to explore her tiny world. She is unaware of the dangers that lurk and outraged when I try to corral her. This week, however, she showed signs of ‘settling down’ a bit. She was seeking my comforting arms and, after an exciting tour of the Wal*Mart toy aisle where she kissed each baby doll in their box lovingly, she wanted to kiss her momma in the same way. She craned her neck to me, pursed her sweet, full, little lips, made the “mwa” noise, and kissed me on the lips. She had a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her lips afterwards. She was the baby girl of a mama’s dream. Those instances are neither consistent nor trackable. I have no idea when they will happen again, but what I experienced is enough to keep me going until this emotional Neanderthal evolves some more. In the meantime, I’m staying near enough that I might be gifted another one of my daughter’s kisses, truly a magical Simple Joy.

Holding Hands. My eight, almost nine, year old still walks to the bus stop with me. Although the stop is visible from the house, it is on a main road that is a highly trafficked area. For this reason I continue to take him to and from the bus stop. We’re both not sure when this function of my job description ends, but it bothers neither of us so we continue. Since Day 1 in Kindergarten, I have held my hand out to my son as we walked the short distance to the stop. He always reaches for my hand and we talk, or not. Once at the stop we drop hands and he plays, I quiz him on spelling words or math figures, or we plan our upcoming weekend. As we took our stroll to the bus stop one day this week, I reached my hand out as usual, he accepted, and, without knowing it was happening I said, “You know, I’m going to miss doing this when you decide to stop holding my hand,” to which he replied softly, “I know.” He never let go, but I knew then and there that my little boy had taken another step toward manhood. It made me proud… and inwardly sad. He seems to really understand that as much as it is his job to grow up and away from me, that I am always here for him. I must be doing something right for him to trust that. And my son held my hand the rest of the week, too. I don’t think either one of us is quite ready for that ritual to end… yet. A very priceless Simple Joy.

Touch. My four year old has been the less demonstrative child. Happier to run, play, and explore, cuddling on the couch was nearly torture for him. He has settled down nicely, but he still is an active child. This week rain was the scene every day keeping us tied to the house searching for entertainment. We did numerous activities to fill the hours and keep him occupied. By the week’s end we had exhausted our ideas and retreated to the Lego Room in our home. The four year old, who is a very talented Lego designer, usually whittles the hours away creating cars, houses, and scenes, but took a wholly different approach this past Friday. He took a longer Lego element and began styling my hair. He spent an inordinate amount of time coiffing me while I simply closed my eyes and enjoyed not only the relaxing feeling of being attended to, but the close proximity to my son who would stop and allow me to hug and kiss him. Perhaps he was simply in a short-lived phase of needing reassurement that he was indeed loved and valued or perhaps he simply has settled into the style that his mother shows love. Either way, it was an absolute and complete Simple Joy to be handled so lovingly by my truly amazing four-year-old son.

I am surrounded by good fortune, incredible blessings, and, thankfully, enough wisdom to be grateful for it all. My daily life is filled with conflict, deadlines, and uncomfortable situations, but taking the opportunity to spend quality time with my children, ignore the more pressing needs of the laundry, a phone call, or a television show, I am able to find the inspiration to keep going, continue trying, and never give up. My children provide a plethora of Simple Joys and the clarity to seek every opportunity to find them. I hope whatever brings Simple Joys into your life you can identify and accept it. Life is full of Simple Joys, we just need to be aware.

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