“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls off a string.”
It has been 18 months, to the day, since my unexpected life began. Back then, there were some dark, difficult days!
What are my days like now?
Very different from the previous two decades I lived as a married, stay at home mother who spent her days caring for her family and volunteering service in my church and community. These days I’m up early, get myself ready for work, my children ready for school and daycare, I try to get dishes unloaded from the dishwasher, dinner in the crock pot, and a load of laundry done before I drive a carpool to the elementary school, drop my youngest at daycare and commute to work–arriving at work between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., depending on the day and the traffic.
What do I think about it all?
Mostly I think how carefree I feel. When my unexpected life began, and my entire world changed so quickly, completely and unexpectedly, I doubted I’d ever feel carefree and light-hearted again. But thank goodness I was wrong.
We’ve healed. We have sweet days again. And although not every day is splendid, wonderful and exciting, we’ve been blessed with time together (now that I work outside the home, our family time is even more precious and we know it, appreciate it and try to make the most of it), an increased appreciation for one another (a result of the additional service we’ve each had to render to one another to help our little family function) and an abundance of love for one another within our family circle (our shared experiences have strengthened the bonds of our unity even more.)
An additional opportunity has been the chance we’ve had, as a family, to appreciate the simple pleasures of nature. We live five minutes from the mountains. Access to them is just right up the street from our home.
One such simple pleasure was the night Bachelor #5 took my boys up the canyon to “throw rocks.”
He came by after work and picked us up. There was a river he wanted to show the boys. When we arrived, Bachelor #5 taught the boys the simple pleasure of throwing rocks into the river. My sons were thrilled!
Bachelor #5 climbed all around the river bank, searching for the biggest rocks he could find, and then threw every giant rock he prospected into the river with a BIG SPLASH. My boys “oohed” and “ahhed” on the shore, thrilled with the splashes. It was like The Bellagio in Las Vegas, only without the beautiful opera music, instead, accompanied by the music of nature. It sounds unbelievable–because doesn’t every adult have the childhood memory of throwing rocks into water and making splashes? But I don’t think my sons had ever done anything like that before. (My former spouse excelled at showing our children the world and providing many material opportunities, but getting him to share the simple pleasures of life with us was not something he made time for very often, if at all.)
Bachelor #5 also demonstrated the simple pleasure of floating things downstream. He walked upriver from us, threw a big stick into the water, and encouraged my four-year-old to look for it floating by as the current carried it past him. It was so exciting for him to see the item traveling down the river! I don’t think the boys had ever done anything like that before, either.
Then Bachelor #5 said, “Ok! Now lets skip rocks!” He picked up a rock, threw it into the river and we all watched as it hopped and skipped on the surface of the water.
“Your turn!” he encouraged. My boys stood there, looking at him with puzzled expressions. I whispered, “I don’t think my boys have ever skipped a rock before, I don’t think they know how.”
Bachelor #5, so kind, patient and calm, looked at me with a flash of disbelief, probably wondering how my boys had missed these simple pleasures of life, but just as quickly, he turned and taught my sons to skip rocks on the water.
Then they all went back to throwing boulders into the water.
As I watched Bachelor #5 patiently carry rocks and help the boys throw them, and my boys dancing in excitement on the shore, I had to look away. So no one would see my unexpected reaction. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched my sons, traumatized way too early in their young lives, happily playing, learning new things and having an adventure enjoying a simple pleasure on a river bank–with a man. (I don’t know if all single mothers are like me, but I am almost desperate for my children, especially my sons, to be able to spend time with men so they will have male influence in their lives.)
I am so thankful for the simple pleasures that are ours to enjoy. We lost a lot entering our unexpected life, but we never lost each other OR the simple things that are free, all around us, in nature. And we ended up moving right to them.
Despite the challenging circumstances of our unexpected life and all we’d had to pass through to get to it, I realized that my children finally have everything I always wanted for them. I have something I always wanted to have too, something REAL.
I may not have found a diamond ring yet, but we were stringing the strand of our life with the pearls of simple pleasures, every day.
“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
We owe a lot to our unexpected life. We have sweet days, simple pleasures and the noblest pleasure of all: understanding. Perspective. Appreciation. And a depth I doubt we could have acquired any other way.
The Unexpected Life.