Pockets of family bliss
Sam’s son identifies what makes life beautiful.
(Tammy Gardner)
Now that 2011 has worked up a little momentum, Andreas and I are struggling to hold on to the sense that we are doing any more than simply, well, holding on. First it’s March, then it’s June... and then 21-year-old Joey’s apologising for having pranged the car during a midnight joyride.

It’s all just going too fast. If I didn’t know it would end so badly, I’d be tempted to find an all white hospital room where, like Sylvia Plath, I could just lie still outside of time for a bit, sneering occasionally at tulips.

But while I have been trying my best to fix the problem pro-actively - buying more time by finally kicking my social smoking habit (hold thumbs that it’s still true by the time of going to print) and slowing time down by trying to meditate - it was the still-fantastic 11-year-old Joe who brought me back down to earth with an ohm.

“I like life best when you can actually feel the little pockets of bliss that string it together,” he said to me a while back. In that companionable voice children use when gobsmacking you.

“What do you mean, Joe?” I asked.

“Well, take this moment,” he said. “We’re lying on the couch in a pool of sunlight all snuggled together, reading books we like. If you think about it, it’s a bubble of bliss, isn’t it? And earlier when we took the dogs for that nice walk into forest...”

“Before or after Odie Rocketboots rolled in that other dog’s poo?” I asked, sceptically. “Oh definitely only before,” said Joe, with a straight face. “That, before the poo moment, when we were walking up the stream hunting tadpoles... that was a bliss pocket.”

Readers, how lovely is that notion? I think it’s just fantastic. Not only does it light up all the important bits, but the idea of stringing them together into a life that resembles Christmas lights all year around... is deeply appealing to me.

At dinner every night, we try to play Best and Worst, where each family member shares the best and worst moments of their day. (Okay, it probably didn’t need the explanation.) While this game has served us well for years – or at least until Benj figured out he could say “My best is that I have no worsts”, I prefer the new habit of drawing attention to Bliss Pockets.

And it’s catching on in our family. The other day we were playing a boisterous game of Cluedo (or as we like to call it J’accuse!) and Benj, while brandishing Col Mustard indignantly in the air (‘I didn’t! I couldn’t wield a dagger in the kitchen! I am a Mild-Mannered Mustard!’) suddenly fell back on his cushion and roared, “Bliss pocket!”.

At which point, we all tickled him in agreement.

Isn’t it funny how the best bits of life are the most transient? I think that’s why I love the bliss pocket idea so much because it not only recognises and reinforces that, but it acknowledges that it’s getting a fair number of them in that makes all the hurley-burly worth it. No matter how fast life flies by.

Here’s to gathering bliss pockets, while we may.

How aware are you of those moments of bliss?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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