I was driving the Brookelets home from school the other day and noticed that a tree on the side of the street had a lot of its leaves twirling towards the ground, which prompted me to exclaim, “Oh! Falling leaves! One of life’s simple pleasures.”
Miss Junebug scrunched her nose at me and asked, “What does that mean, ‘life’s simple pleasures’?” I explained that a simple pleasure was a rather ordinary occurrence that just made your heart happy, and generally didn’t cost any money, which made it all the more special because it reminds you that you don’t need to spend money to be happy. My girl nodded and went back to reading her book.
What I thought was a quick little explanation of some random phrase has apparently been percolating in her mind because we were driving to the library today, and saw a maple tree whose leaves had all turned a brilliant scarlet, but hadn’t fallen off the tree. Junebug saw it and said, “It’s too bad those leaves aren’t falling off the tree because then they could be a simple pleasure for Mom.” I explained that, even though the leaves were still on the tree, it was still a simple pleasure for me because I liked how it looked.
She looked at me through narrowed eyes, “Does that mean that simple pleasures can happen even if you spend money on them?”
“What? How did you make that leap?” I asked.
“Well,” she said, “you spend a lot of time just looking at your quilts and the things you knit, and it makes you really happy. But you spent money on them, so I thought it was a complicated pleasure.”
I laughed, “A complicated pleasure? No, spending money doesn’t take away the simple pleasure of admiring a job well done. I’m proud of myself for finishing a big project, and I’m pleased with the good job that I’ve done on that project, so it makes me happy to look at it a lot and just be pleased. It’s fun to make stuff.”
“Really?” she said, “Because it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of fun when you’re making stuff. You yell a lot, and you breathe angrily when you run out of thread. And sometimes you burn yourself on the iron or cut yourself with the circle blade…”
I studied her face for a moment, then turned away to stare at the traffic on the road while I thought about her statement. Then I nodded, glanced over at her and said, “You’re right…it’s complicated.”