Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter.

Having a birthday, and a milestone one at that, is usually a time for reflection… for me.

As I surveyed the last four decades I have been on this great Earth, I saw a panoramic view of the memories I hold dear.

Much to my bewilderment they were not really the milestone events that stuck out – graduations, formal events, etc. – but the incidentals that happened along the way. The times when life just happened, unplanned, unstructured, and unhampered by me were the ones that often rose to the forefront of my memories. In other words, my Simple Joys floated to the top.

Each week I learn more and more about myself since writing Simple Joys. I learn which parts of my day really do act as the glue that binds my life together. It certainly is not worry, panic, or stress. On the contrary, it is laughter, peace, and love that keep me going; my Simple Joys.

And now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Mani/Pedi. My mother, to her credit and my endless appreciation, loves to spoil me. She does so at what I believe is a reasonable level. She doesn’t give in to my every whim or buy me new cars and vacation homes, but she does take care of me in a nurturing way.

The day before my Friday birthday my mom set up an appointment at her nail spa for me to get a manicure and pedicure and then she paid for the luxury. It is a very rare treat for me, but one I do so enjoy.

The best part of the experience was two-fold; the tech who worked on me was attentive and sweet but quiet so I could truly rest and relax and the chair I sat in during the 40 minute pedicure had a massage mat. I was in a blissful state having my back worked on in that fashion!

Having a mani/pedi at such a wonderful location while having my back massaged on my mom’s dime was a gaggle of Simple Joys in one 75 minute part of my week!

FB friends. It used to be I couldn’t wait for my birthday because I could open my presents – new clothes, a houseware or two, maybe a new piece of jewelry. But, since Facebook has entered my life I find that one of the most wonderful and exciting parts of my birthday is reading the numerous kind, funny, sweet, entertaining, and thoughtful birthday greetings my friends offer me on my “wall”.

It took me checking in on the site all day and into the next morning to respond to them all (like individual thank you notes because that’s just the kind of girl I am) but I enjoyed every second of it and am very grateful for everyone who took a moment (or longer) to send me a birthday greeting.

Having hundreds of engaged FB friends sending me birthday messages is a Simple Joy that I embrace and am thankful.

No cake. Each year I’m asked what kind of cake I would like for my birthday. Many years my mom has made a delicious cake, sometimes I would make my own, and others one would be purchased at the grocery store bakery. But, truth be told, I don’t love cake.

So, this year, when I chose my birthday dinner – we went to my favorite drive-in that is really a dine-in-only restaurant now – I made sure it had reasonable prices and everyone could find a dessert they enjoyed there.

I always regret eating the cake after my birthday dinner and this year, being 40 and knowing my own mind, I just didn’t want to have or eat cake. So, we didn’t. I know, to some I sound weird, but it has been a Simple Joy for me to not have to have cake in my house for my birthday.

Red Door perfume. Before Christmas 2011 a friend suggested I try a scent. When my brother needed a gift idea for me I gave him the name of the perfume and asked for the impossibly tiny travel-sized package as I wasn’t sure if I’d like it.

The perfume is Red Door by Elizabeth Arden and I adore it. I wore it all throughout my birthday week and truly enjoyed the scent. Finding a “signature scent” is a Simple Joy!

Greatest Gift. The greatest gift I received for my 40th birthday was not wrapped in paper, stuffed in an envelope or found anywhere else but my home. It took me an extra day to really figure it out, but I did plainly.

It took my daughter, still two (I feel she’s been two for years), to wreak havoc on the night of my birthday to show me the light. She got out of her room after she was tucked in for the night and snuck into my master bedroom and found my nail polish supply. She proceeded to paint her fingernails, toe nails, hands, legs, and my husband’s bedside table before we discovered what she’d been up to in our absence. I was incensed! No, seriously! This was not her first offense with this type of action.

I cleaned the child up, had my husband put her to bed – it was very late – and began cleaning up the rest of my possessions stained in the candy-apple-red polish she had chosen to decorate herself and my things. And I was fuming…

So I flung open her bedroom door to yell at her about “change in behavior”, “can’t do these things anymore”, “old enough to know better” and other phrases that fell out of my over-tired and over-wrought mouth. She cowered and cried and I, having exhausted myself, calmed down and told her, “no matter how angry I am, I still love you very much.” She calmed down, I kissed her gently and tucked her back into bed for the night.

The next morning I woke up and realized the ”disconnect” was with me. The child clearly needed more attention and was finding it any way possible.

The greatest gift was realizing, before it was too late, that my priorities were out of whack and that my children were it… the best gifts life had given me in all of my 40 years. My Simple Joy is recognizing that and embracing that there is still opportunity to find balance.

This week’s list of Simple Joys was literally endless. It is always a blessing to write Simple Joys and especially on a week such as the one I just experienced!

One friend drove three hours just to hang out with me for 18 hours. Another friend wrote me – the writer- the 40 reasons she was glad I was her friend! And my core group of friends met me for dinner at my favorite sushi restaurant and helped me celebrate. And, of course, my sons and I worked on a Lego set leftover from my oldest boy's birthday the week before.

But each week, whether there is cause for celebration or not, is filled with Simple Joys. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Please join me tomorrow as I wax poetic on an entirely different topic on Freestyle Wednesday on Chief 187™Chatter.

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