It would be a really easy thing to dissect, if I were so inclined. It would go like this:
The sun is perfect outside our window -- highlighting the blue sky instead of obliterating it with too-bright haze. A breeze that feels like a kiss from autumn falls through the screened window, and I can smell the beauty of the entire world, all at once.
I turn around from where I stand making lunch at the counter, and Lauren is there, rolling on the floor. She's singing about days of the week, twitching her feet in a rhythm only she feels. Her golden hair is fanning out around her head, and her deep blue eyes lock on mine as I smile at her.
If there is any spare cell of dullness or monotony left within the confines of my heart from a morning that's been less-than wonderful, it evaporates into a burst of joy. Having kids around is just about the easiest way to remind me of what it means to be happy.
I fall to the floor (or, ease myself gingerly so as not to upset the perilous balance of my 38-weeks pregnant self) and layer kisses around her face like a topsy halo. She is the sweetest thing for miles. I tickle her neck and cheeks and ears and hair with squeaky kisses that morph into raspberries, like she's a baby.
But she is a preschooler. A three-year-old. A child racing towards big things.
So for the moment, I pin her into the present with my fingertips.
I poke and tickle and squeeze until her chuckling fills the room and competes with the breeze for title of 'most amazing thing, ever.' She rolls over with the force of her own laughter, exposing the back of her ribcage, which I dive into with renewed tickle-power. Again, she rolls forward and I attack her soft belly. Then her neck. Then her feet, underarms, and thighs in quick succession.
When she begs for mercy, I stop; she catches her breath for a second. But before I can stand back up, she's ordering more. More tickling. More playing. More chuckling. More hiccuping. Which I grant her, easily.
So, if I were to dissect a single, perfect moment, that's how it would go. It's normal. Common. So simple that it's hard to recognize, but profound in its ability to make an average day -- an average life -- spectacularly fulfilling.
These moments are scattered like pearls on a bed of sand. They sink into the landscape until I'm not even sure if the dimples they left behind are a figment of my windblown imagination, or real.
I prefer to string them together and see the pearls individually. Not let them sink into the sand.
So I tickle my daughter until we're both breathless with happiness. I let the wind from an autumn day ruffle our hair. I serve us lunch and find ways to keep up with her chattering conversation. And then I roll the pearl of a memory -- a tiny, iridescent thing -- between my thumb and finger, memorizing its contours and colors.
This string of pearls, it's life-giving even as it was created by life. A life lived in the simplest manner.