Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Comfort of Simplicity

For many of us, there are items of which we must be in possession to both begin and then navigate our day. These are the compulsories of daily life. 

Lots of people can't hope to survive a morning without coffee to provide a jump start. Maybe you're one of them and, for good measure, maybe you're one of those folks who insists on drinking their coffee from a favorite mug. 

Most of us, have got to have our wallets or a purse, or both. That's where we keep money and our driver's license so that, in the event we get pulled over, we have both the proof that we're allowed to drive and the means to pay our speeding tickets. 

And, while they offer professional utility, most of us are addicted to our phones anyways, so they've got to come with us too. 

Pictured: 16 gigabytes of inescapable
"simple life."
But it was not always this way. There was a simpler time. A time when the clothes on our backs were all we needed to begin and then go about our day. 

It wasn't in high school. No ma'am. Back then we had backpacks stuffed with books and binders overflowing with homework. 

Ditto for elementary school. There were books then and there was likely a lunch box too. 

What about before elementary school? What about preschool and day care? 

This was a time when your outfits were often selected for you. Lunch was prepared and you might have even had your own coat hook, or a booth in the cloak room with your name on it.

There wasn't much to keep up with and everything had its place. 

Yes, those were the days, a simpler time indeed. 

Books? Binders? Homework? Back then all you needed to remember was what to bring home.

Would it be the macaroni art, or the freshly fallen leaves glued to an 8.5 x 11 sheet of printer paper, a breathtaking collage you put together to celebrate Autumn?

And, if you forgot one of these masterpieces? No big deal, you could always bring it home the next day and mom would put it on the fridge then; unlike homework, there was no deadline for this. 

There was simply less to keep track of back then.

But "then" was really just two years of our lives, years that most of us don't remember with great clarity. Given that fact, it's strange how this phase can echo so forcefully with some folks. 

If you're detecting a bit of melancholy here, you're detection skills are impeccable. 

But, fortunately, I've got a counterbalance to my bittersweet remembrances of childhood's comforting simplicities. I call that counterbalance "The Boy."

Unlike his dear old dad, the boy isn't in for an alarming wake up call when he later realizes that the necessities of everyday are so very many.

To the contrary, Master Blackwell is getting an early start. 

At one time all he required was a blanket for comfort. Now, he's an itinerant little gypsy hoarding any number of items and insisting that these trinkets travel with him.

The staples of his entourage include: Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto and a favorite blanket, with a stuffed elephant head stitched onto one corner, which we call Minkey. 

"I'm on a motorcycle I put on a couch. I've got a wooden
block in one hand, a drum stick in the other and I'm wearing
goggles from a Crayola box. What could be more simple?"
To be clear, this plush menagerie is the starting point for any trip anywhere and, after it, there is a rotating cast of necessities that has included: rocks, pens, pencils, toy cars, a Sesame Street cash register, an illuminating purple and blue microphone, a magnetic drawing board, wooden blocks, foam letters and numbers, one blue rubber duck, my eyeglasses, and any DVD worth more than $15, which he typically uses to buff our hardwood floors, thus necessitating the re-purchase of said DVD.

I was thinking about this recently as I attempted to pick the boy up and noticed the colossal amount of crap he was clutching onto. Crap to me, mind you — irreplaceable, amazing items that one simply could not do without, to the boy. 


So, I altered my approach — widened my arms, crouched a little lower — to accommodate Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, a yellow drum stick and a wooden sign from a miniature train set that reads "Safari Park." 

As we (slowly) headed upstairs, it occurred to me that if he stays on this course, the boy will have no such worries of a "simpler time." 

And it occurred to me how quickly any one of these items can automatically put him at ease. How reassuring must the world be to suddenly feel better merely by the presence of an item. 

Funny, but that sounds like the simple life.  It'd be great if the boy held onto a few of those things.  

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