My heart does a little happy dance at the sight of the sunlight streaming through the window. I tiptoe to the spot where the floor glows from its rays, drop a fluffy pillow to the ground, and plop myself on top of it. I smile in the silence as the sun warms my face.
Ahhhh. That’s a moment of pure joy. I always seek out the same sunny nook in my daughter’s room to meditate or sometimes escape for a minute. I revel in the quiet and bask in the radiance only the sun bestows.
Lately, I’ve been trying to zero-in on life’s flashes of delight. To savor them. With the kids being home for the summer, I’m finding myself doing a lot of tail chasing. I have the best intentions of keeping my cool and being engaged with the kiddos all day; ultimately, however, that vision is blasted by an argument I usually wish I had handled differently. I find myself dropping balls I’m used to juggling and it becomes far too easy to get bogged down by the feeling of failing as a parent, wife, sister, friend, or human being. Recognizing happiness, like my private, sun-drenched pillow island, reminds me how wonderful life is, even in the most common, unexpected times. Here are a few more gems I’m treasuring:
- I had the brilliant idea of the kids doing their reading and summer bridge work while we drove to and from the doctor’s office. No one was happy about the work. No one wanted to read. But they did. The best part, the nugget of joy, was listening to my eldest son, J, help the Tornado read. He walked his little sister through her workbook, and after each effort delivered a heartfelt “Great Job!” or a gentle correction. I was beaming with pride as he lovingly guided her.
- Starbucks Café Mocha. There’s nothing more to say.
- My boys are on our neighborhood swim team and it’s exhilarating to watch them. While they participate in other sports, swimming is the only one in which their individual efforts determine their fates. Here’s the kicker: they are not the best swimmers. They do okay; they garner some ribbons, but what makes me giddy are the grins on their faces as they splash their way toward the wall. They literally smile as they swim. And, that makes me happier than any ribbon could.
- A full-blown, wholehearted, group-wailing of The Script’s “Hall of Fame.” I adore it because the unharmonious chorus of my minis and me as we drive around town is pure fun sprinkled with wild abandon.
- I am not a fan of being tickled and neither is J. The slightest touch, however, will send the Tornado and my middle child, R, into a frenzy of giggles and belly laughs that are so ridiculously cute they are contagious.
- The crispness of fresh, backyard-garden tomatoes, the tingle of cold milk sliding into the belly, the sweet burst of a juicy orange, the decadence of dark chocolate covered almonds, and the fruity splash of a chilled grapefruit shandy–YUM!
- As much as it drives me bonkers, I’m also charmed by the smart responses proffered by my kids trying to stand their ground or convince me to see things their way. The give and take of conversation and creativity of their big brains is delightful. (Until it’s not.) Nope, I’m never going to believe that you ate all of your green beans even though you so masterfully hid them under the side of your plate.
- I’m recharged by the quiet house while the kids are at camp or on play dates (thank you moms!), escaping through an engaging book, organizing anything and everything, snuggling with the dogs, quiet conversations with my husband after the kids are asleep, and a good old veg-out session with some guilty pleasure TV (Orange Is the New Black, anyone?).
- Those rare and stunning moments when the kids all get along: when the boys play soccer in the back yard at the end of the day while the Tornado winds down on the tree swing; when they all settle in for a board game or session of war; or even when they hoot and holler with laughter while wrestling each other or playing a game of indoor tag—those are the times I feel like I might be doing something right.
- The majesty of nature draws my attention throughout the day. I am in awe of the gentle birds nesting in the ferns on our porch, the colorful blooming flowers everywhere, the luminous blue sky decorated by fluffy clouds, grand magnolias in the trees, the splendid live oaks out my front and back windows, the brilliant artistry of the sunrises and sunsets.
- No matter what kind of day we’ve had, how many times I’ve yelled or said no, three little souls always deliver the best I love yous and won’t-let-go-hugs at the end of the night. They are blissfully followed 10-12 hours later by the sweetest, groggiest good morning hellos and warm-me-up-cuddles.
- Breathing in and out to meditate or calm down; reintroducing my heart rate to my elliptical; stretching my back, neck, and legs as I do yoga all smart and revitalize at the same time. Collectively, they remind me of both my mortality (I really am getting older…) and my ability to live fully.
If I can recognize and linger a little longer over these sparks of joy glimmering around me, maybe I can grasp what this crazy ride is truly about, why I am here. We’ve got ups and downs and hoops that we are drawn through, but what matters most is what we choose to feel, see, experience, and remember. Live in the moment. Take in the little things. Reawaken your senses. Be grateful for it all.
Fred M. Rogers said it best: “It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive.”
He was so right (as usual).
Oh, there’s one of those happy heart dances again! I hope your day is filled with them too.