I spent a lot of time thinking, typing, and deleting during yesterday’s post. When I finished it, it was almost 11:30 PM, and I felt like while it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped to say, it was good enough.
I was wrong.
Okay, not wrong, exactly, because I did want to talk about simplifying my schedule and my home, but I didn’t want to come across as beating myself up for my lack of mothering skills. (For the record? I think I am a GREAT mother. I could be better, which is what I’m striving for. But as I am? I’m pretty darn good.) What I didn’t touch on yesterday was the overwhelming feeling I’ve had lately that I can be happy with simple. I like simple. I think simple will like me, too, as soon as it finds me. (Hee hee)
For example, in our ward I am in charge of the Relief Society Enrichment activities. When we met as a committee to plan our year, we came up with some very fun, complicated ideas, as well as some fun, simple ones. We steered toward those first, and they have been very laid-back and easy to execute. Both of them focused on helping sisters and families, and we had double our usual attendance. Women were able to visit with each other, create new friendships, and nurture old ones. It was a happy time.
Next month we’ll have our annual Birthday Party Social, and we had some grand ideas for making it fabulous, until one committee member said, “I really like the simple ideas. What do you think about this?” So next month, instead of scrambling to decorate and line up speakers and prepare a gourmet meal, we’re asking each sister to bring one of her favorite, can’t-live-without-it things, gift-wrapped, and everyone will be able to leave with someone else’s favorite thing. Our program will come from within, as each guest shares what her favorite thing is, and why. (Within a $3-$5 limit.) On the menu will be two or three different soups, salad, bread and assorted pastries. Our advertising consists of a song I wrote about Enrichment, sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things”, and performed a cappella for the different auxiliaries. (It’s a good thing I don’t embarrass easily…) The night will still be fabulous, only now it will be fabulous in its simplicity.
I think that part of my recent nostalgia has stemmed from the desire to go back to a time when things were simpler. When I was little, we didn’t have 100 cable channels to watch. There was no computer or internet or Wii. Playing with friends didn’t require scheduling or cross-town trips, and we were perfectly content to play outside and make up our own games. Last week, when they were all out of the room, I turned the television off to see if my kids noticed. (The answer is NO. It gives me hope.) Hannah grabbed a wooden spoon and hopped into an empty diaper box, “paddling” around the living room in her canoe. Of course, everyone needed their own box after that, and Alex turned his into a space helmet, Kendra made hers a car, and Anthony’s was some sort of morphing Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang thing that was car, boat, airplane, motorcycle and ambulance… and they played for almost two hours. It was such a fun afternoon! No one cared that their box said “Huggies” on the side, or was ripped in places, or, in Alex’s case, was too big to stay on his head properly. Had any of us cared about that, we would have missed a really great opportunity. One that was simple to execute, but provided an afternoon of imagination and memories.
So that’s what it all comes down to, for me– those inspirational messages that say Stop to smell the flowers! or Find joy in the journey. I look forward to doing that. I am excited to start flinging away all the mental and tangible clutter that is blocking my vision, because while I may not be concerned about napkins that don’t match the tablecloth, I have been too concerned about other trivial things that are just as blinding. I need to simplify my life better, so that I am able to recognize opportunities and grab them as they come along. It will make for a nicer home, better family relations, and a better me.