Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187 Chatter. Some days it seems that the whole world, your body, and your mind are beating up on you. It’s difficult to put “the right foot forward” and nearly impossible to put a smile on your face. Those are the times that refocusing, breathing, and changing perspective are most necessary. For each person that is achieved differently, but finding out what works for you is vitally important. I count on life’s Simple Joys to appear to cheer me. Whether it’s an unexpected kiss from my child, a text from a dear friend, or my favorite magazine in the mail, the little things in life, the Simple Joys that I receive make each day pleasurable. Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Aftermath of the Storm. The freakish October Nor’Easter that piled well over a foot of snow on our community led to a plethora of pleasures! First, my children’s school was cancelled ALL WEEK. It was a day-to-day call that informed us of the next day’s happenings. Save Friday when my ½ day Kindergartner was allowed back to his school to have his Halloween party , my boys were home with me. The power had gone out rendering the school’s food spoiled, conditions on the road and in the building unsafe, and a period of time needed to fix all problems before the students could safely return. To some this was a terrible situation, but I truly enjoy my kids! We had different adventures each day; one day we applied for passports for the whole family, another we went to Target and Costco to start our Christmas shopping, and still another we spent dressed up in our Halloween costumes and visited our friends at local stores (that was actually Halloween)! I had my boys working in workbooks and on educational websites to keep them sharp, but mostly we enjoyed the unexpected windfall of a relaxed break in the middle of fall; truly a Simple Joy.

Halloween. Halloween is one of my children’s favorite holiday and their father’s birthday. Due to the storm we experienced my husband was able to stay home from work on Halloween and spend the day with the children and me. We dressed in our costumes (all five of us!), travelled from the grocery store to the local McDonald’s to the salon we all get our hair done to show off our look and enjoy the day. At night we went Trick-or-Treating, got our fill of our favorite chocolate bars, and, knowing there was no school the next day, stayed up a bit too late to squeeze the last moments of fun before Halloween slipped away into the night. Being present, staying dressed in costume ALL DAY and being together for the entire holiday was a rare and special Simple Joy.

The oldest. I had a bad day late last week. Nothing felt right, all seemed wrong, and I couldn’t get it together. A final straw broke my shell and I came undone; I cried. My oldest was witness to this breakdown but wasn’t freaked out by it. It’s not that I act this way all of the time, on the contrary, it’s been a long time. But he was raised to not fear emotion, to accept it and deal with it. I needed emotional support and my oldest was the one who had to offer it. He rose to the occasion, offered me a hug and the needed support, and soothed me. I rallied rather quickly having been able to release my emotions and was able to take control within minutes. I was so proud and thankful to my boy… my young man. His reaction was a Simple Joy that I cherish.

The little boy. My second son is an artist. I have not labeled him this, he himself has. I am a realist, not one to give into delusions of grandeur, but I do not argue with the boy. He is an artist. His ability to see something and the desire to replicate it in any medium – crayons or Legos for example – results in him actually recreating the thing splendidly! I am in awe of this talent, his perseverance, his vision, his stick-to-itivness, and his extraordinary perception. Watching my child create art is a Simple Joy that sends bolts of electricity through me!

The girl. My daughter is a source of great joy and, quite frankly, equal frustrations. When I have the rare opportunity to spend time with her alone, offering my undivided attention, I see a child who is adventuresome, engaging, curious, and innocent. She desperately loves to swing so that is an activity we do a lot together. She starts in an infant swing that I can belt her into for safety. Once she tires of that she asks to be let down and throws herself on the “big kid” swing, belly down, arms out like an airplane, and legs picked up so they don’t drag. She is, in essence, trying to fly. I stopped and merely watched, listened to her glee, and identified with her desire to soar like a bird. Even at her tender age my daughter is acutely aware of being grounded, of limitations that meet her at every turn. By escaping to the swings she can foster a feeling of complete freedom that makes the face of my two year old radiate ultimate happiness. Witnessing my girl’s reckless abandon is a Simple Joy I will carry with me for a lifetime!

Playing. I take my son to the bus stop every day after lunch to catch the afternoon Kindergarten bus. We always get there a few minutes early so we have time to play. Recently my son has picked up a stray stick and thrown it in the air to try to reach the very tall tree in the yard where we wait. After he tosses the stick as high as he can he fetches the stick and runs it over to me. I toss the stick next and we take turns as many times as we can before the bus arrives. I love this game. Not only does my son exhibit his ability to share, his ingenuity at making up a game, and his athletic prowess, but I get to play! And, let me tell you, I am good at this game! I impress myself (not an easy feat) with how high I can toss the stick! Having the opportunity to play outside with my son before the school bus whisks him away is a Simple Joy I look forward to daily.

Each week I struggle with myriad problems, stresses, fears, and frustrations. What is different about my life now is I am fully able to engage my mind in finding, letting in, and enjoying the Simple Joys that appear in my life. I can change my perspective, release my burdens, and clear the air by accepting that Simple Joys are there for the making and taking. Life, in all of its bundled mess, is full of these gems and it is my great privilege to take part in experiencing them. I hope reading my Simple Joys gives you incentive to find the ones in your life. Whether you write them down as I do weekly or you simply make a mental note to list them, it is my sincere hope that you open your heart and mind to the Simple Joys that abound.

Please join me tomorrow on Chief 187 Chatter when I wax poetic about yet another topic.

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