I’ve always tried to keep a bit of a gratitude practice. Just taking a moment to feel deep gratitude for bits of my life that I generally take for granted. I used to even keep a gratitude journal where I would jot down a few things every day. Studies show that this helps us feel more satisfied in our life as a whole and happier in the long run. You might not know this about me, but in my adult life, I’ve kept a number of blogs before, admittedly a bit erratically. And they’ve all been fairly similar, but I have never been very good about keeping up with the practice of writing. Nonetheless, the writing bug is within me, and I think I’m generally more satisfied when I have a spot to write. I’ve always written about memory-keeping, books, food, lifestyle. Things that matter to me. And one thing that I’ve always done is write essays about simple joys. The ritual of making an iced coffee in the afternoon, cracking the spine on a new book, tiny bouquets of wildflowers, taking the long way home, the feel of a tiny hand gripping yours, a favorite pencil, writing on the first page of a new notebook and the like. Just simple things that make my heart swell a bit in my every day life when I slow down to think about them. I’ve called these different things over the years. I believe I called them sparks of gratitude in one blog, a small, happy life in another. But for the last couple of years, I’ve thought of them as Simple Joys, so that’s what we’ll call them here. We’ll make this a bit of a series.
The first one I’m sharing is a simple joy that’s so fresh in my mind because I’ve just finished the ritual. Every Sunday, when everyone has finally tumbled out of their beds and bellies are full of warm breakfast, and I’ve had at least one (maybe two!) coffees, I declare to the whole family that it’s “Linen Day!!!” I generally exclaim it with great excitement, with what I’m sure looks like a crazed smile on my face. The boys (who are 4, 3, and 1) have no idea that most people don’t get jazzed about stripping the beds and washing all the sheets. Indeed, most people probably find this a chore that they *have* to do rather than *get* to do. Nonetheless, there’s anticipation in the air in our house. Everyone bounds off to the bedrooms to start taking the sheets off and carting them off to the laundry room. Today we even had the great fun of using our sheets as an excuse for an indoor sleigh ride. Three boys piled on a sheet, being pulled through the house amidst giggles of joy. If that doesn’t scream joy, I don’t know what does. But it’s not just that. It’s not just the stripping of the beds. Honestly the making of the beds is where things die down a bit. But then – THEN! there’s that moment just before bed, when my little ones crawl into their clean beds just after a warm bath and their breaths start to slow, heavy lids drooping with sweet dreams. At that moment, I take a deep breath, and I know that another week is about to come, and no matter what it brings, my kids have a safe, clean spot where they’re showered with love to sleep at the end of the day.
But those clean sheets you know, it’s not just for them. It’s for me, you guys. It’s for me. Obviously I wash their sheets, but I wash ours too. And that moment when I climb into our clean bed, I fairly shake with contentment. You can tell when a bed has freshly washed sheets on it. You just can. It’s like I’m giving myself a warm hug and a pep talk for the week. You can do this. It’s a new, fresh week, and you can do everything that lies ahead of you. It’s such a simple joy for me, friends, I hope you find some in your week ahead too.