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The Simplest Happy Thing

Chynna Hansen

Hey Little Mama!

I always knew that writing would become a bigger component of this business someday, I just wasn’t sure exactly how that would look or when that would come to life. For three years, it’s been 3-5 words on a shirt and lengthy instagram captions of my ramblings and insights on motherhood.

Adding a blog to the Little Mama business has been tugging on my heart for over a year. If nothing else, I need a place to record my thoughts, a safe space to encourage and lift mothers, and a corner of the internet to continue in the celebration and promotion of motherhood.

That being said, I have sat down to write this post at least seven times. I have risen in the middle of the night and put pen to paper and had nothing but a blank mind and feelings of frustration. I have a few half typed thoughts on the notes in my phone, and a few scribbled napkins tucked into my junk drawers.

I felt so discouraged because I am a writer, and yet, no words would come. I studied literature for four years in college, I have taken countless writing courses, I am so deeply moved by others’ words... but I could not come up with any of my own to start this blog.

And then I had to ask myself why I insist on complicating things.

I have always received inspiration from the simpler things in life, and my family (and my heart) are at peace when we live in a place of simple centeredness.

Two of my favorite quotes that have both been given months on the letterboard in my kitchen are:

“Today’s complexity demands greater simplicity.” - L Tom Perry

and

“Simplicity is the result of profound thought.” - William Hazlitt, but quoted most often throughout my life by my wise grandmother.

As mothers, our tendency to complicate things comes from a good place. It is with only the best of intentions that I overplan, overbook, over-detail, and overschedule our lives. The complexity I invite into my own life is only a result of my longing for things to go smoothly, for everyone to get the most out of each activity, and, ironically, for things to be simple.

I took a walk with my boys this morning to a canal in our neighborhood. The sun was beaming and it was one of the brief moments in the day when the distractions fell away and each boy, 5, 3, and 1, was happy for his own reason, and also collectively happy because we were together and we were outside in the fresh air.

We were checking to see if any of the “dinosaur trees” my five year old loves had turned green yet after what felt like the longest winter on record. He loves to cut them off and bring them home. We “plant” them in our sandbox and he spends hours arranging his dinosaurs just so around the watering hole.

I looked down at the chubby baby legs hanging over the stroller, wearing shorts for the first time this season, and felt a pang in my heart at how, five years earlier, just a blink of an eye ago, there was only one boy and his mama, walking to a canal to throw rocks in the water.

And now there are two boys on bikes and one in a stroller, and somehow, without even realizing it, our days have gotten a little more complicated. There are diapers to change, scraped knees to bandage, school drop offs, endless piles of laundry, messes for days, hurt feelings to discuss, and wonders of the world to marvel. A dishwasher to fix, a toilet to unplug, meals to make, places to be, the list goes on forever.

Where did the simplicity of a mama pushing one small baby in a stroller go?

I have found myself longing for those days the farther and farther they get from me.

In that moment, I watched Jace, my three year old, pick up a rock and throw it in the water. He bent himself as low as he could at the knees, gaining only an extra inch or two of momentum by doing so, but believing with all his heart that it would make a big difference. His hands still have a hint of baby in them, but the dimples are disappearing slowly with each passing day. They were tightly holding the roundest stone he could find. He slung the rock high into the air and did not take his eyes off of it, did not even dare take a breath, until it crossed in front of the sun high in the sky and hit the water with a splash.

And then, the biggest grin.

It struck me.

That is his favorite thing in the world. It always, always has been.

The boy who loves to throw rocks in water.

The simplest happy thing.

The realization hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew in that moment where our focus will be this summer.

Our days will still be busy and rushed. We will still have places to go and the pile of laundry will still be taller than my car. I’ll still feel slightly irritated at the number of dishes I have to do, and we’ll still yell at the boys for plugging the toilet every night. We’ll still have to spend Mondays on errands and Tuesdays paying bills, and we’ll have to go to places and events we don’t really want to. We’ll wonder where the days and summer months went, and feel sad that they’re slipping away so quickly. We will not live in a fantasy world suddenly free of work or responsibility when we shift our focus.

But we will do the simplest happy thing as often as we can.

The great thing about the simplest happy thing is that it probably won’t require any planning, coordinating, or money.

It will continue to be exactly as it is, always where we left it.

For us, we will walk to the canal and throw the rocks in. We will laugh our heads off when they splash and we’ll pretend to be paleontologists searching for dinosaur tracks. We will still be in a dense neighborhood with many houses, but we will create a world that feels like adventure, simply because we made a conscious decision to do so.

We will intentionally escape from life for twenty minutes at a time, as often as we can, until one day my boys are grown and would rather head to the lake with friends on a sunny day than throw rocks in the canal with their mama.

And on that day, we will have accumulated many, many hours of the simplest happy thing.

Wonderfully, magically, simplicity will already be a priority, so just because our boys are grown, will not mean that we must complicate life again. We will find a new happy thing that serves us for that season, and we will do it often.

But for now, while these ones are little and I have the mama privilege of creating their adventures, we will allow their simple desires to come alive, at least sometimes.

This summer, we will be more careful and intentional with our time.

We will breathe fresh air in and out.

We will soak in the summer sun and we will adjust our focus.

We will work hard and stick to our schedules.

And we will consciously make room in our hearts and our days for the simplest happy thing.

 

What is the simplest happy thing for your family in this season of life?


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