There was one night a week ago when it felt like the Brooklyn streets were all soupy with a taste of summer heat. It was a contrast to the weeks before where temperatures creeped only over 65 or so. So despite the uncomfortableness of it, the soupiness was welcomed.
I spent that afternoon running errands in a Doén dress and Brother Vellies sandals in the East Village. And the kids spent their day in school (like they normally do during the week). They probably had double recess and then back in where they were away from the day’s sweltering sun. When it gets that good kind of soupy in the city, part of me feels a little bad that they can’t enjoy it. Their school days often feel long and once they arrive home, a good chunk of the evening is spent re-centering and calming our bodies. And in truth, I look forward to bedtime, it is normally my time to work a bit more and decompress.
Instead of throwing us into the evening hustle, I found a little way to squeeze joy out of a very mundane dinner. Instead of going in to cook up some elaborate (and picked around thing), I re-heated simple leftovers of mac + cheese with peas, with fresh-cut strawberries on the side, and we ate our dinner on the stoop. The kids had watered-down apple juice in their cups and I had rosé in mine. We talked and they chatted with a few neighbors who walked by our stoop.
Later that evening after the kids were down and I was going over my day with a friend and neighbor, she asked if I could invite her and her kid over next time, of course, I said yes! I thought of it, but it seemed too last minute to send a text. And yet, it wasn’t? While the kids and I had the sweetest time talking and playing, I imagine it would have been even more fun to have them play with a friend and cheers to a beautiful evening in Brooklyn with an adult.
Over the last few years, part of my joy in mothering has been in squeezing out bits of joy in the seemingly simple, difficult, or mundane. Dinner, being one.
When we started to head out to our stoop, River wanted to know what made tonight so special, and the only answer I had was this, “It’s warm and we’re living!” And squeezing out joy is that simple.
Some days and nights are hard, but whether its with the kids or with friends, I want to remember to squeeze all the joy out of every moment, especially when the warm whether hits us hard and asks us to pause the frantic pace of the pm grind.
We also do movies in the middle of the day on a Sunday, instead of heading out (we did that on Mother’s Day!) and that also felt like the simple stomach-full of joy. Throughout winter, we also had what I called, “Open House” where friends could come and visit, eat, play, chat and drink wine or coffee and let the kids go generally wild throughout the day. There was never a set start time or end time, and it felt so casual and special and community-filled.
I’d love to hear about other ways you squeeze out joy!
Really loved reading this. You radiate joy LaTonya!
Love this! We squeeze evening joy by playing outside with all the neighbourhood kids. I chat with other adults while the kids bike, draw with chalk and share a few popsicles! Being in Canada where winter is way too long and summers, way too short, we try and extend our evenings as far as we can before it's bed time.
I love the idea of an “open house” day!
-Grace | The Keen Kind