Last year, at Blissdom Canada, during a session on blogging and writing, Jen Reynolds, Canadian Family’s Editor-in-Chief, challenged all of us to craft a 700 word blog post about BLISS. While I didn’t win the contest (some incredible bloggers did, so go read the Reader’s Choice contenders here and find the winners in the March 2012 issue of Canadian Family), I’m still very proud of the piece that I wrote. I wanted to share it, as it was part of my journey of the last year; part of finding what’s still wonderful in my life as I grieved and moved forward after the death of my father and the loss of my job. When I wrote this, I laughed, I cried, and then I smiled. I hope that this story of Bliss, and what it means to me, finds its way into your heart.

What is Bliss?

Bliss is a bear hug from your giant 15-year old son. It’s a snuggle from your tween boy, who now reserves his affections for special moments. It’s a tossed off ‘I love you’ from your 17 year old daughter who is immersed in her own life and forgets she has a family. It’s sitting at the dinner table and listening to your children, almost grown, have amazing conversations, and know that when you’re gone, they’ll have each other.

Bliss is a waking up to a dog laying on your pillow, staring down, waiting for your eyes to open. It’s a cozy duvet wrapped around you as the wind whistles outside. It’s drinking a steaming cup of coffee on the back deck as the morning sun shines on your head. It’s the smell of a freshly cleaned house whether you cleaned it, or better yet, if you paid someone to do it. It’s opening up a brand new book and dreaming of the stories it holds. It’s laying in Savasana and waiting for the instructor to wake your body and calm your mind.

Bliss is being called Miss instead of ma’m by the checkout boy at the supermarket. It’s a compliment on your shoes from a salesclerk. Its a lovely comment on your blog. It’s a retweet on something you tweeted that you thought was especially witty or funny. It’s a picture where your hair looks great, and your butt looks small. It’s smiling at yourself in the mirror and liking what you see.

Bliss is your husband sneaking a peek when you’re changing, even though you’ve been together 22 years. Its a hug in the kitchen when he’s getting milk out of the fridge. It’s the twinkle in his eye when he dances around the room waving his pants above his head . It’s his laughter as you pretend to strip like Carrie on ‘King of Queens’. It’s remembering the look on his face when you walked down the aisle and how he held your hand when you gave birth to your children. It’s him telling you that you’re funnier and smarter than anyone else, and he doesn’t understand why they have a book and you don’t.

Bliss is hanging with your friends, laughing, maybe drinking wine. It’s your BFF texting you ‘I miss you’ randomly throughout the day. It’s knowing that there are people who have your back no matter what. It’s knowing that there’s someone who will tell you when you’re outfit is atrocious. It’s caring for others more than you care for yourself, and giving with no intention of receiving.

Bliss is your father’s last hug before he died. It’s his face when he opened his eyes the last time, smooched the air, and said, ‘I love you’. It’s the places he took you, the things he taught you, the dirty jokes he told. It’s the affection he openly shared, and taught you to share with your children. It’s the lectures he gave to teach you to be great. It’s the good genes he passed down so you don’t have wrinkles and your kids are brilliant, and the bad ones also, so your boy has ADHD.

Bliss is your mother as she ages, and becomes your friend. It’s when she tells you you’re worthwhile, and have something to say. It’s when she listens to you like you’re an adult not her child. It’s when she tells you something you cooked is better than hers. It’s how she changes and opens up and learns to share her love, because its never too late.

Bliss is your sisters, each with her own special self. It’s your brothers who can drive you crazy even while they make you smile. It’s your siblings, the ones who know you better than anyone else in the entire world. It’s knowing you have people who will be there always. It’s the nieces and nephews who keep you in babies. It’s the giant family gatherings full of love and laughter, and glitter and trucks.

Bliss is the small things.

It’s the everything. It’s what makes you happy. It’s what makes you sad. It’s what makes your memories.

It’s what makes you.

Bliss is life.