The other night I went to the bookstore, my usual location for a night out by myself. I picked out a new book for my boys for Christmas. I settled on The Gruffalo. A modern classic. I chose the board book version, to protect its’ pages from my 15 month old’s eager hands.
I pulled the book off of the shelf with a smile on my face. Why did it fill me with so much joy to go and pick out this book for my boys? Make my heart leap a little? Feel almost sacred to me?
I think it is because in this small act I am making a statement. A statement I have only recently adopted but one that is growing louder and louder in my life. A statement to keep things simple.
I am prone to overbuying and impulsive shopping just as much as the next person. But these are not qualities I admire in myself. They do not fill me with joy, or make my heart leap or feel sacred in the least.
Little by little I have been making space in my life for the things that matter most to me. One might say I am pursuing minimalism. I’ve been clearing out cobwebs, literally and figuratively. This involved big steps like choosing to leave a career to stay home with my kids and donating an entire wardrobe of beautiful clothes that just didn’t suit my new lifestyle of regular playground and library trips. And this has involved baby steps, like donating books and dishes that have only taken up space in my storage room, and trying my best to resist purchasing yet another new shirt.
But I buy this $12 board book because reading to my kids has become one of the most important activities in my life. I know the story will be read at least 4 times the first day, and hundreds of times after that. Everyone has a different way to do Christmas. For me, I am learning to really enjoy what I buy for each person. It’s usually only one or two things. To slow down enough to touch the gift with my own two hands. To think about the loved one who it is for, and how they will enjoy this gift.
The urge to buy more is always there. I don’t think it ever goes away. But when I slow down I can hear my heart telling me (and my husband’s voice echoing) ‘this is enough’. And they are more than right.