When I’m worried, and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep, counting my blessings.
I’m quick to list off everything that annoys me or inconveniences me. That list is a mile long, half the time, and it’s always ready on the tip of my tongue.
But then, I had a really lovely, relaxing Sunday yesterday, full of those little pleasures that seems so small yet add so much goodness into my life. That reminded me of how very many of those little joys I have all week long, from people I look forward to seeing to activities we do together, to little sensual pleasures, self-care luxuries that are quick to get lost in the shuffle of our day-to-day demands.
Here are a few of mine, won’t you share some of yours?
- Sunday quiet time – after cramming every thing I can into every other day of the week, trying to make every minute as productive and purposeful as possible, I finally get to Sunday and make plans to do nothing, with myself. Everything I do, I choose to do it, and everything I choose to do, I do slowly, leisurely. Without rush or expectation.
- Kitty snuggles – BOBVIOUSLY this one should be self-explanatory, but really, my fellow animal-lovers, is there anything better than a little fluffball who absolutely idolizes you crawling into your lap or onto a pillow next to you and their little eyes getting droopier and droopier until they fall asleep completely at ease with you? I THINK NOT.
- Essential oils – yes, I’m that kind of person. Whether I’m diffusing eucalyptus oil to help me breathe at night, or treating any and every single skin ailment of any kind with lavender oil (thanks, Emi!), or even just using the rollers Shaun and Lauren got me to smell nice during the day – it’s a small thing, but the scents and taking time to use them are so therapeutic.
- Burning incense – because, yes, I’m that kind of person too. I don’t care! I don’t care what kind of hippie names you call me, they smell good, they’re cheaper than candles, they last longer, and it’s a nice little moment of spirituality to light them and maybe occasionally say a prayer for my dear ones.
- Textiles – man, this list is getting nerdier and nerdier. But I love having little unique, handmade or carefully selected items that are different from all the mass-produced junk I buy to dress myself appropriately for work for the winter months. I curl up in the feather scarf Shaun bought me, I wear the elephant dress Emi and Trav brought me back from Uganda. I have two quilts my mother’s best friend made for me, one for the celebration of me graduating high school, and the other as a wedding present to Shaun and me. Each is beautiful and one of a kind, and because she gave them to me as gifts on special occasions, I think happy thoughts every time I use them. They’ve been everywhere with us, to ROMP and the beach and the drive-in, and the good memories keep adding on.
- Monday lunch break – do I wish that I didn’t have to make provisions for lunch every Sunday night before bed? Yes. Do I sometimes wish I could have the car to make an impromptu lunch decision or visit to a friend on Monday? Yes. But Monday lunch times, stuck at work without the opportunity to leave, have become a Real Book Reading time to me. You know how it is as adults – you have to make time to read in general, and you particularly have to make time to read an actual, physical book. I admit I’m guilty of just downloading and binging myself on ebooks, because it’s faster, it’s more convenient, I can read in line at the store or as I wait for my food. But on Mondays, I always sit down with an actual, physical book, and I turn actual pages, and I get that fresh book smell. Some weeks are so busy that this is the only time during the week I get to sit with an actual book – and that makes that time all the more precious (Bonus points if the weather is decent and I can sit outside!)
- Monday night dance class – listen, I will freely admit, I get weary at the end of my Monday workday. Almost every Monday, I have at least a brief second of wishing I could go straight home and nap, after the work day has worn me out, a brief second of thinking I don’t have enough energy and positivity to keep up with ten four-year-olds who own me body and soul and are completely aware of it. But then, they grin as soon as they spot me in the lobby. They hold my hand walking back to the studio. They giggle at my jokes like I’m the funniest person alive. They remember every little trick I’ve said to help them remember to do the steps properly, they look forward to the little silly things we do each week; pretending to ride a train when we line up to go to the tumbling room, feeling the whoosh of air as my assistant and I flop down the mats, making their third arabesque “alligator mouth” arms sing when we do ballet. Then, at the end of class, when I give them their Magic Stamp as a reward, I give them the choice of giving me a hug or a high five, since not all kids are comfortable with physical contact – and yet so many of them pick hug, gleefully flinging themselves into my arms.
- Surprise Texts – yes, we all text during the week, checking in, ranting or consoling each other. But I love it when my girls in my Fierce Lady Tribe take the time to text me just because they want to say hi, or they’ve remembered something they think will make me laugh, or to tell me I’m special or they love me.
- Mom Dates – who listens to you like your mom? Who lets you ramble on and on like your mom? Who assures you you’re doing just fine even if it doesn’t feel like it, as your mom does? Who insists on picking up the tab, just because, and just because you’re a grown up now, and living a life of your own, like your mom? Who tells you she treasures the opportunity to spend time together, like your mom?
- Friday Night Dance Class – listen, I could easily complain about the number of crunches and squats we do in Tech and Anatomy, or the dreaded cardio. I could complain about grand plié after grand plié in Ballet, or my arches burning after balancing in relevé passé struggling for balance. I could complain about being the old, fat lady in a class full of thin, youthful teenagers. But I won’t. I absolutely won’t. I love coming into the studio and having the girls’ faces light up when I arrive, I love how they check in from time to time and make sure I’ll keep coming back. I love getting my hug from Emi, often the first time I’ve seen her all week. I love the sweat and the groans that turn into laughter. I love feeling tiny, inching progress. I love the way I start off thinking there’s no way I can do the petit allegro or grand allegro Emi’s just demonstrated, and yet I force myself to do it – and end up at least completing it with decent execution, or else surprising myself by doing it really well.
- Two Little Heads Popping their Heads in the Studio Doorway – we can’t talk about Friday night dance class without talking about the special guests who arrive in the last few minutes of ballet. Travis brings all of the kids to pick up Emi, and so she can nurse a potentially fussy SB who’s been parted from her mother for a few hours. I’ve been working hard, pushing myself, and then – those two little heads peek in through the doorway, and nowadays, they know to look for me. I see them searching through all the faces until they spot me, and then their eyes light up, this big grin stretches across their faces. Sometimes Norah even does a little jig of excitement. As soon as class is released, they run to me for hugs, and beg me to chase them. I bet you can’t catch me, Jack says. And I, trembling from the last combination of glissade assemblé chasé tour jete, firmly agree. Nope, I sure can’t! But then, he asks if Emmy can come play at their house, and I certainly can, and I follow this little family home, and help get the kids ready for bed, get kisses and hugs and Eskimo kisses and whispers of I love you before taking SB into my arms and trying to rock her to sleep while Emi and Trav tuck the kids into bed. We have maybe a half an hour or 45 minutes before I leave to get Shaun, but it’s a little secret powwow, eating a late dinner together, giggling at the Internet or watching birth stories or just rehashing our weeks.
- Phone Dates with Lauren – these days, we can’t go longer than maybe two days without talking. One of us just has to call, and check in, and for us – a short phone call is fifteen minutes. Most of our conversations end up being at least thirty minutes. At least once a week, we talk for nearly an hour, occasionally more. We unwind, we vent without holding back, we help each other overcome issues or complications, or at least find the strength to keep enduring them. We praise each other’s efforts, we express our mutual gratitude for our friendship. It takes time, these phone calls, and not everyone is a phone person. But these talks we have keep me grounded, help me maintain my sense of self when I’m feeling my most insane in this wild world.
- Time Stolen with Shaun – everyone knows this complaint, now. We barely see each other. We almost never have a day where both of us are completely off. The best we can hope for on a regular basis are the days when we manage a half day off together, before one of us goes off to work in the afternoon, or after one of us gets off midday. We complain about it, but this is how we’ve had to handle our weeks, ever since we first met and started dating. We’ve learned how to make it work, and we’ve learned how to steal little moments, chunks of time for ourselves. Our date nights are nothing fancy – he cooks, we watch one of our shows together. If we’re lucky, we can take a walk, or meet up with friends, but always most precious to me are the times when we have no demands on our time, and just get to make each other laugh, get to remember why it is we fell in love in the first place.
How about you? What are the small things in your daily life that make all the difficult, stressful, or irritating things tolerable?