One of my dearest friends and I built our relationship up through daily email exchanges about our lives. We started emailing when my husband and I were just newlyweds and she was in a committed relationship. Our emails continued as we journeyed to Massachusetts and settled down in our first home, through my pregnancy, her engagement, her marriage, and her first baby, my second baby, her second baby… each email carefully documented our daily joys and struggles. When I became a mother my emails were full of joy, but a lot of whining about sleep, difficulty transitioning into motherhood, problems nursing, and general woes. Her emails were filled with encouragement and hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. When she wrote about motherhood though, she rarely complained but just reveled in the joy of being a mother. She was like that, she just enjoyed life.
Whatever she wrote about though, I seemed to want. It wasn’t belongings, but a sense of peace and of tranquility that she seemed to capture, that I had never had. I was always running, always going, always busy…I now realize that I didn’t take the time to enjoy the simple things, the simple life, and the simple goodness that could be created by being still for a moment.
I am trying to transition out of the busy bee world and into a more quiet time with my children. Perhaps it is melancholy because my firstborn will be attending first grade next year or perhaps it is just the realization that I don’t need to be running or constantly entertained to enjoy a quiet spell in my life.
Today was just one example of what a quiet day for us is like. The windows were cracked and I could feel the fresh air blowing into our house and the smell of freshly cut grass. I look down at my daughter as I feel her deliberate and persistent tapping on my leg. As I look down at her, I smile because she is wearing a pair of my shoes on her chubby little feet. Of all her toys, it is these shoes she loves and she calls them her “tap shoes” as she scoots the sandals across the floor. I look over at my son who is curled at one end of our sofa with a book. I can hear him as he sounds out each word very carefully and slowly, just as he has been taught in school. I revel in his growing vocabulary and how much he has learned this year- he has grown so much.
The smell of fresh muffins travels through the room as I wrap up my baking for the week ahead. This batch of muffins is stuffed to the brim with oatmeal and a little bit of chocolate, to balance out the heartiness and make them more appealing to my children. The muffins smell like freshly baked cookies and the kids begin to count down the minutes until they will be cool enough to handle.
I hum a little bit as I tidy up the kitchen, from the day spent baking, and fill the sink with the dirty dishes. The suds and warm water fill the sink and I dip my hands into the bubbles to finish the day’s dishes. As I scrub, I look out the window at our sweet little garden that we planted together. I recall the tender way my son wanted to help plant each and every plant, asking each time, “What can I do, mommy?” He was there for each step of the process and helped to water our finished product. He was just as proud and dirty as me that day.
I then sit at the other end of the sofa with my son and the sound of my knitting needles, Emily’s tap shoes, and my son’s quiet readings are all you hear. We enjoy the quiet of this day and look forward to our idyllic summer together. This stillness is what I need and I see our children growing from it. Not from the organized activities, the well-thought and well-executed organized crafts, the busy running. No, they thrive in the quiet and stillness…and so do I.
Do you see how the mundane can be made to sound lovely? Just as advertisers would have us believe that a new car will give us this amazing life we have always dreamed of, simple writing about simple pleasures may invoke that same enthusiasm. Suddenly baking muffins, knitting, quiet moments, a tiny garden, and doing dishes sound lovely…and you begin to want that. Imagine if the whole world returned to these simple pleasures- joy in the laundry hanging on the line, kids playing in sprinklers instead of with electronic gadgets, freshly baked goodies straight from your own oven, an appreciation for the beauty in nature instead of the beauty of our exterior selves…I would imagine that it would put a lot of companies out of business.
Today I challenge you to a day of simplicity and I look forward to hearing what special and simple things bring you the most joy in your life.
Is it your children’s laughter? Is it a freshly cracked library book? Is it the quiet time you spend with your spouse after your children have went to bed? Is it that first cup of morning coffee with a dash of cream? What are some simple pleasures that bring you happiness? Revel in those things, bring those things into your life, focus on those simple and amazing pleasures and see if it doesn’t bring into perspective the beautiful life you are already leading.
What simple pleasures in life do you enjoy the most?