With one day of spring break behind me (and only one more day of spring break ahead of me), I am already starting to feel refreshed and rejuvenated and even a little relaxed. I really needed this time off (probably almost as much as the people who have had to be around me lately). Admittedly, I have been in a bit of a funk, allowing daily annoyances and frustrations to overwhelm me and to force me to lose sight of what a great life I really have.
And my frequent admonishments to myself to “suck it up” just haven’t been doing the trick.
But yesterday I slept in until I wanted to get out of bed, ate fresh strawberries for breakfast, spent the morning with my buddy Matt Lauer, read several chapters in a great Civil War novel, and lounged lazily in exquisite afternoon sunshine. Yesterday I also read over some of my previous blog posts, and I came across “My Little Bitties” from many months ago. Not only was I reminded of so many of the simple pleasures in my life, but I was also challenged to think of even more reasons to smile that didn’t make the first list.
So here they are … My Little Bitties, Part II:
- watching my two favorite baseball teams, the GHS Bulldogs and the St. Louis Cardinals (especially when they beat an arch rival, and even more so when they do it with a no-hitter or a walk-off homerun!).
- reading a phrase so poetic and beautiful that I have to read it again for the pure pleasure of absorbing its beauty.
- getting fist bumps from my students, especially when I’m out in public and they run up to greet me (when they could have so easily pretended they didn’t see me).
- feeling the sun’s warmth on my upturned face.
- having thought-provoking conversations about topics that matter.
- dining in a restaurant that is completely smoke-free (instead of having to walk through the smoking section to get to the non-smoking section in the back).
- knowing the rain is heavy enough to wash all the dust off my car.
- smelling chocolate cake baking in the oven.
- trying on a pair of formerly too-tight pants and realizing they are now too loose.
- getting home and realizing that someone else has already washed the dishes that I left in the sink the night before.
- having my grown children come home for a visit (hint, hint).
- discovering that I am so much stronger mentally than I ever dreamed possible.
- sleeping soundly through the entire night–no leg cramps, no bathroom trips, no crazy-weird dreams, no unidentifiable sounds coming from the basement (or was it the kitchen?).
- cooking large quantities of scrumptious food for an appreciative crowd.
- listening to the rumble of distant thunder before a spring rain.
- wearing purple!
- having a day with no obligations other than to enjoy it.
- hearing Jessica sing “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “The House of the Rising Sun” and feeling the smile on my face and the goosebumps on my arms.
- feeling the burn of exercise and envisioning billions of little fat cells bursting into oblivion.
- watching my old dog napping in a patch of sunlight, lying on her back with all four legs extended straight up in the air (even though I do sometimes have to sneak up on her to make sure her chest is moving and she’s still breathing!).
- enjoying the mouth-watering goodness of summer’s fresh fruits–strawberries and watermelon and cantaloupe and blueberries and peaches–oh my!
- roasting a hot dog on a stick over a roaring bonfire.
- having a restaurant within walking distance and eating an all-meat pizza while sitting on the restaurant’s back deck and watching boats idling into the cove.
- having a friend decide to quit smoking and being able to applaud her success!
- opening all the windows to air out the house on an early spring day.
- listening to Lou Bega’s music (especially “Mambo Number 5” and “I Got a Girl”) and being reminded of fun times in the car with my boys when they were younger.
- diving into a double-decker BLT sandwich with garden-fresh tomatoes.
- watching Labrador puppies tumble and frolic.
- making tacos for supper (my quick and easy “go to” meal).
- re-connecting with former students through Facebook and discovering what amazing adults they have become.
- depriving myself of my beloved Ding Dongs for several months and then rewarding myself with one–just one–and realizing they no longer have power over me!
- sitting on the back deck after dark, listening to bats whirring overhead, deer rustling in the woods, and coyotes howling down by the creek.
- watching an entire day’s worth of news shows and not hearing a single word about Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan.
- enjoying the beauty of a yard full of dogwood trees bursting into magnificent bloom.
- spying a white picket fence winding into the distance.
- realizing that the first official day of spring is only two days away and that I can finally bid a long overdue “good riddance” to my nemesis winter.
So, no matter what problems the next few months throw in my path, I need to remind myself of all these simple pleasures and the one ultimate truth: Life is good. Life is really, really good.