My son, Reeve, was just home from college for the Thanksgiving holidays. He was here for the whole week—nothing else planned—and we managed to pack in a whole lot of “nothing”—leisurely time where he and Tim and I just hung out: laughed a lot, talked a lot, went on long walks, made up games to play, watched YouTube clips of Danny Kaye movies. . .
Got me to thinking how fulfilling the simplest things can be (just BEING together, for example) and remembering how simple “simple” used to be, back when the boy was little:
• M & M cookie and a glass of milk at the old Furr’s lunch counter. Twenty-five cents for a cup of coffee for me. (This was in 1992, but it felt like something out of the 1940s—a horseshoe-shaped counter with swiveling stools, tucked away on one side of a chain grocery store.) I’d put Reeve on one of those stools, and we were set for a good half hour, at least. One-on-one conversation with a contented toddler . . . one of life’s richest offerings!
• Watching construction vehicles. Especially cranes and steam shovels, but anything big and loud would do.
• Watching emergency vehicles. Especially fire engines, but, again, anything big and loud. And FAST.
• Watching (and sitting on the steps of!) (God bless the Santa Fe Southern Railway!) trains.
• Looking at pictures of people we love. (We kept photos of faraway family and friends on a bulletin board and would frequently go picture by picture and talk about the people in the shot.)
• Riding a city bus. We lived in Providence when Reeve was 3 and 4. And we just happened to live on a bus route. Believe me, during those icy Rhode Island winter days, when sidewalks were impassable and the house got way too small, I was incredibly grateful for the city buses. We’d pack a snack and a book, hop a bus and ride around and around for hours at a time.
• Drawing. Everything from emergency vehicles and trains to birds and whales and a boy eating a cookie at the Furr’s lunch counter.
• Reading in a cozy place with a snack. (See photo.)
• Crawling into bed at night with Mom or Dad and talking about the day. A mandatory nightly ritual—and a great way to process whatever had happened on any given day.
Nice to know in this fast-paced crazy world of ours that simple pleasures are still an option.. Maybe a little less simple as our kids get older—but still every bit as rich!
Photo: My five-year-old son (he’s 22 now), reading and having a snack on our front porch. He used to love to “be cozy” with a good book and a snack, whether outside in a shady spot in the summer or hidden beneath a big blanket, homemade fort-style, in the winter.