Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Random, and Not So Random, Joy in My Week
I was doing things that should bring me joy, and they did, but lately that has been no guarantee. Of course, the joy wasn't always as expected.
There was a joy event -- a shopping trip to Winston with my friend and, as I call her, soul sister. Now, I'm not a shopping person and I hate to drive in Winston, but then she did the driving (score one joy) and we weren't doing a clothing shopping day, we were going to Costco and Trader Joe's and Starbucks and Krispy Kreme.
Other than being accused of actually being sisters because of some resemblance, our lives are on very different paths, but we connect in ways that are important and care about one another, even if there are big differences. It was beyond joyous to spend an afternoon talking, laughing, and indulging ourselves in the purchase of such things as large bags of dried cherries, dark chocolate quinoa bark, mega containers of greens, and an assortment of other goodies that each time we pull them out to eat will trigger a memory of the trip.
Of course, even had we not bought anything -- which some people would have considered a totally wasted trip -- it would have been a joy just to be be out, to be with someone to talk to, and to enjoy the weather which was spring advanced by a week or two from where we live.
The joy I would have liked to have captured on camera came earlier in the week, but late in the day, when I was tired, frustrated, and just wanted to be done, not going to the drive through at Dairy Queen because E1 had a coupon from school for a free child's cone.
That was one of those events that should be fun, but wasn't expected to be because it was 7:30 at night, we'd just finished the Awanas program at the nearby church, and I'd had the two small Es since before 9 a.m. that morning. I didn't want to do it, but I had mentioned it and they were insistent.
My SUV isn't ideal for a group of children, or maybe it is. E1's seat is in the center of the back seat with her little sisters on either side, because she can do more to get herself in the seat, even though the whole arrangement is a pain. When we got the cone I pulled over in the parking lot and began rotating it between the two bigger girls, both within a stretching arms length.
E3 promptly pulled her paci out and did her "I want that noise," so that she, too, became part of the rotation. But the cone was going down slowly and I wanted to get back to their mom's workplace to be ready to hand them off. That meant I needed to drive.
I gave E1 the cone and told her to share. That was when it got special. Driving down the road in the growing dark I listen to her patiently handing the cone to E2, then holding it for E3 to get a bite. It was that kind of magical time little children sometimes share when they aren't fighting over toys or pushing one another around and I couldn't even see it because I was driving.
Of course, then the top fell off the cone in E1's lap and I was really glad I asked for extra napkins -- even more so when I saw E3's face. But it was all good.
There were more random bits of joy through the week as well.
1. E3's happy exclamation when she saw the jogging stroller making its first appearance of the spring. She loved it last summer, but I didn't really think about her remembering it so enthusiastically. I took the two little Es for an after lunch stroll/jog Friday afternoon when it was t-shirt weather and remembered what a good workout it was. Of course, big dogs including Pedro went along and he did fabulously with the stroller despite having never been around one.
2. Watching E2 play big kid and help a toddler swing as her big sister used to help her. It's one of those two child swings and one who knows what she's doing can make it work for both. There were grins and squeals of delight from both.
3. Getting two large trees taken down. Usually, my husband and I do our own tree cutting and sawing -- I love running a chainsaw. But between his six-day work schedule and the fact that he broke his arm four weeks ago, we had two trees still standing that I did not want to go through another summer with even though I hated to give either of them up. One was a giant, damaged poplar that shaded the kennel yard and worried me every time a summer storm blew through because it lost a limb that didn't heal and was weak. I hired someone to take it down, and it also took down a section of fence and damaged some pavement, but it's down and the building is intact. The second was a beautiful maple that just provided shade in the wrong place, casting a dark shadow over the level spot where we pop up a pool in the summer. It had to be gone before we put the pool up this year and we gave it away for firewood to a friend/neighbor who dropped it perfectly in my front yard. I helped him cut it up and have nothing but brush and a stump to remember it by.
4. Flowers that simultaneously made me cry. The crocus and budding daffodils pictured above were planted by Ethan at the homeless shelter where he lived and were shared by the shelter on Facebook. They're a reminder of what's gone, what's left behind, and that a lot of people remember and cared about him. My own flowers bring me joy as well, but those are special, even if I never actually see them with my own eyes.
5. One more unexpected snow day. Yes, I'm totally over winter. Yes, I've seen enough snow. But as of now, it's not sticking to the roads, it's falling in big beautiful flakes and sticking to everything and I think I'm gonna take my camera, bundle up and go outside. Hoping this is winter's last hurrah.
So look for joy where you don't expect it, and where you do, even if you're tired, frustrated, and would just as soon be doing something else. I'm working to not let the blinders of grief keep me from seeing the good and letting them help me heal. Today, it wasn't as much work as some weeks, but that doesn't mean I think I've turned a corner, it just means one good week to celebrate.