Sometimes my two-year-old runs up to me to plant a kiss somewhere on my body — hand, arm, thigh — anywhere she can reach, before going back to whatever it is that’s keeping her busy. She does this even when I’m in a different room, completely out of her sight.
Sometimes Little Miss picks up her own dish and even gets her sister’s after a meal and neatly places them in the sink, without prompt. On rare occasions, she even offers to wash them.
Sometimes even scorching 92-degree days can feel wonderful when I get to watch my girls frolic rapturously or playing quietly in water. (Exhibit A above, Exhibit B below.)
Sometimes I discover a new culinary wonder, like pimiento sandwiches, and realize that it probably would never have made it to our mealtime rotation had we not moved to this region. Apparently, pimiento sandwiches are a thing here, and after my first taste, I can understand why.
Sometimes two lollipops are better than one (oh, who am I kidding? If you ask Pickle, two lollipops are always better than one), and as a parent, saying yes, always feels better than saying no.
Sometimes My Guy goes back to Chicago for work, like he did this week, and I worry more about how he’s going to transport our favorite whiskey back from this one distillery we love than what I’m going to do with the girls during the time he’s away. Which is to say, about the whole solo parenting thing, I got this. And that feels pretty damned good.
Sometimes we all get something out of one excursion, like when we go to Lady Bird Lake downtown and I get to run on the trail while the girls play at the park with their daddy and after a spell in the sun, we cool off at the nearby springs together.
Sometimes the girls squeal with delight when we announce that they’re having “super sandwich” for dinner, which is a fancy way of saying double decker PB&J, My Guy’s specialty. And I’m glad that they react in equal fervor when I announce “It’s rainbow chard tonight!” But none can compare to their shrieks that can be heard miles away the moment we ask, “how about some sushi?”
Sometimes I get to read a classic I've never read like “Charlotte's Web” because of my five-year-old's voracious appetite for books. We started with me reading to her, but when I couldn't one evening, she pressed on herself and I had to play catch up on my own. She read the ending beside me, when we were both propped up in bed together with a book each, and (SPOILER ALERT: do not read past this if you've never read the book but intend to; skip to the next paragraph instead) she turned to me and unexpectedly said, "Charlotte dies." I laughed off my annoyance at not being able to discover that on my own and promptly explained to her what a spoiler is and why she should never, ever, ever, ever, ever do that to anyone again. But when I finally finished the book myself, I was glad I read it at this stage of my life, after many years of living, to fully appreciate E.B. White's profound love for this world and everything in it. I am also grateful that I get to revisit Roald Dahl and discover Kate DiCamillo and E.B. White with Little Miss, who now leads my literary journey in children’s literature, which I find myself falling in love with all over again.
Sometimes when carrying my gangly five-year-old, who is all arms and legs, and getting a tad too heavy for me, I suppress my need to lament where my first baby's gone and instead feel grateful for every day she is here with me.
Sometimes My Guy and I get to sneak in a mid-day date and find ourselves immersed in a conversation over an amazing bowl of ramen, excited by another great Austin find, and it’s a lovely reminder that this is why we left our corporate jobs. So we can easily take time for the things that matter.
Sometimes Pickle asks, “Is I three yet?” and I have to catch myself and reply, “No” even when everything about her tells me yes. Except when she mixes up her pronouns, “Her is not playing with me; him is gone to work? Is them coming to see us?” but I don’t correct her because well, she’ll eventually learn, and I get to enjoy what’s left of her babyhood just a leeeeetle longer.
Sometimes it’s these little things that remind me that joy comes in many forms, and the fact that they happen even on the most ordinary of days makes it even better.
* * *
Where did you find your joy today?