I stumbled through the dining room this morning, bleary-eyed and hung-over on last night’s dose of cold medicine. My vision was cloudy, but I laughed as I passed the wooden box with the word “simplify” written decoratively across the front. It is overflowing with cords, spare chargers and every unclaimed accessory to random electronic gadgets unclaimed or misplaced. It seemed a box of irony to me. We have been counseled on many occasions to simplify our lives, and this tangled nest of wires and adapters stared at me as if to mock the carefree life overflowing with free time that hovers always out of reach.
I have been reading the biography of Thomas S. Monson. I marvel at the accounts of how he spent his youth; hunting, fishing, raising pigeons and having adventures along the banks of a river in a favorite canyon. I went to lunch with my dad yesterday, and enjoyed hearing him recount fond childhood memories of adventures along the railroad tracks and in the woods. It’s hard to imagine my kids having the freedom to fit that kind of a childhood into their regimented weeks. (How I’d love to write “skip stones on the lake” on my calendar every Tuesday afternoon!) And yet twice in the past week—once when I put myself to bed with a head cold and the second when I heard that my brother had received a serious concussion that would restrict his activities—it dawned on me that it takes a serious slap upside the head (in this case, literally) to get us to slow down.
As much as it is right and good to be involved in our communities, schools and churches; as much as we should be encouraging our children to have well-rounded lives that include athletics, culture and academics, are we doing ourselves a disservice by forgetting to relax and play?
All I want for Christmas is a basket full of memories like the one that happened yesterday afternoon: I plopped on the couch in front of the cozy fire, and waited for my kids to come in the door from school. When I saw their rosy cheeks and happy-to-be-free-from-school expressions, I grabbed them and pulled them down on top of me, where we enjoyed a giggly reclining hug. My nine-year old then said “You’re the best mom in the whole world.”
Mmmmmm…. It left me hungry for more. All I want for Christmas is the simple life.
I wish it for you, too.