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Friday, June 4, 2010

Simple Pleasures

My kids don't have simple minds, but they sure have simple pleasures! Seeing their delight in little, everyday things is definitely one of the bonuses of parenthood.

Quotidien errands like a run to the post office box become a grand adventure when the kids are along. (When it's not a total pain in the patootie because they decide it would be fun to untie my shoelaces and sit on my feet while I'm waiting in line with an armload of packages. This happens too, sometimes.) We have a post office box, and checking to see if there is mail is always entertaining. First the kids have to help me find our number. Then they want to see if anything is for them. It rarely is, but boy is it exciting when there is mail addressed to them!

The other day, they received a thank you letter from their friend Ea nd E's sister T. E's mom A had transcribed it, and the kids giggled and wiggled with joy as I read aloud the note. Then BJ insisted on reading it for himself, laughing the whole time. So much fun had from a simple gesture!

Even better than a letter is a package. Even a letter with something small inside, like stickers, counts as a package in their eyes. But the bigger packages are more dramatic, because they don't get delivered to our P.O. box. We get a notification about them and have to pick them up at the window. Standing in line, gripping that little yellow notification card, the kids are on fire to know: Is it for us? Is it for me??? (This excitement and The Holding Of The Yellow Card is often enough to keep them from the Let's Trip Mom game -- see above -- so that's a bonus, too.)

Recently, Nana J sent the kids a package. Oh, the anticipation when BJ saw their names on the box! He squirmed the whole way home. Since BB can't read yet, she took our word for it but wasn't quite as excited, I think because she didn't discover the information herself. When we opened it, BJ was a little disappointed to see that the contents were new clothes. But while BJ wandered off to play, BB made up for her earlier lack of enthusiasm as she declared that she wanted to try on everything. The girl loves her clothes, especially pretty skirts and dresses!

When she had decided which outfit she liked best, she insisted that I should "take a picture and put it on the computer, Mommy!" So here it is:

She's holding the drawings that she made for Nana to say thanks for the clothes. This was her idea, which made me very happy. Things like that make me feel like I'm doing something right as a parent!

Actually (touching wood) these days I'm feeling pretty good about parenting. Time with the kids is more often easier than challenging. They are getting along pretty well. The frustrations are still there, of course, sometimes intensely so. But the good times are happening more frequently than the bad. Elizabeth Pantley claims that you're doin ga good job as a parent if you feel that you are doing the right thing 70% of the time. (I have to say, much as I like that claim, I do have to say that I think it depends on what, exactly, is happening during that other 30%....) I wouldn't give myself a 100%, not by a long shot, but I'm falling squarely in the B range and even getting an A now and then -- mostly when I am able to slow down and allow us all to savor those simple pleasures that are offered again and again in the course of a day. So much of the time, it's just a matter of being able notice them to enjoy them.

When folks talk about mindful parenting, I think this is part what they mean. And when you're a mindful parent, you don't have to get an A + to do well. As someone who has spent much of her life focused on grades, assessment, and excellence, it's a great relief to come to such a conclusion.


cath c said...

thise simple moments open big doors to wonder, don't they?

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

very true, Cathy! and if we're lucky, we have the sense to walk through those doors and take part in that wide-eyed magic.