93: Best Day Ever

93: Best Day Ever

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life

Best Day Ever

The world always looks brighter from behind a smile.

~Author Unknown

The rain fell gently. I stared out my kitchen window as my morning coffee got cold. Pretty soon my quiet house would be bursting with activity, as it was every day. My husband would rush out the door to his twelve-hour shift. I would be in charge of the children, all five of them.

Soon my three daughters would wake up to get ready for school. I would make sure they brushed their teeth, combed their hair, got dressed, and ate breakfast all in time to rush out the door to make the school bus. My son was in the afternoon kindergarten class, so I would have to repeat all of the above with him, while holding my infant son on my hip.

My mind drifted back to the years before I got married and had children. I had fantasized what my life would be like. I would marry my Prince Charming, live in a beautiful house that was spotless. My children would all be well behaved, neat as a pin. I loved my children and husband, but I never imagined it would be so hard.

The girl’s alarm clock rang and startled me back to reality. I dragged myself away from the window, not ready for the day’s marathon. This particular morning I was more somber than most.

My oldest daughter picked up on my mood. “Mom, why are you sad?” she asked.

I asked her why she thought I was sad.

“I just said you look pretty, Mom.”

I was so absorbed in my own self-pity that I didn’t even hear my daughter tell me I looked pretty. I forced myself to smile and said I was sorry I didn’t hear her.

“See Mom, when you smile, you look even prettier!” she chirped.

This time, I didn’t have to force myself to smile.

When I woke my son up for kindergarten that day, I did so with a big smile. At first I had to force the smile, because I didn’t want him to pick up on my sadness as my daughter did. But that forced smile felt so good that before I realized it I was truly smiling.

That afternoon the clouds gave way to the sunshine. I decided to break our normal routine. Instead of putting my son on the school bus, I bundled him and his baby brother up and decided we should walk the ten blocks to school. The walk was invigorating, and my son gleefully chatted all the way too school. As we approached the school he asked excitedly, “Can we do this again tomorrow? Please?”

“Of course we can,” I said, and I meant it.

As I walked back home, I practically grinned all the way. Wait, was that a skip in my step? I picked up the speed and sang a silly song along the way. My baby boy started giggling as be bounced in the carriage. Soon I was giggling right along with him.

When I approached my house, my neighbor waved to me and invited me in for a cup of tea. “I’m so happy to see you — it’s been a long time,” she said.

It had been. I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d seen her, and we lived right next door from each other. As we sipped our tea, we caught up and had many laughs. We promised to get together more often.

Back at home, as my youngest child slept, I did some self-evaluating. So far, this day was one of the happiest I’d had in a long time. Not much was different, just the fact that I allowed myself to see things through a different perspective. And I allowed myself to smile.

My children would be home from school soon, and my baby would be awake. Instead of just watching TV and feeling sorry for myself, I took out my camera and photographed my baby boy as he slept. He was beautiful, a true gift, as all my children were. I was so clouded by the day’s chores and obligations that I had been missing out on what was truly important in life, my family.

That evening I gathered my children in the kitchen and smiled at them. “Who wants to bake a cake?” I asked.

In unison, they shouted, “I do, I do!”

As we started our cake, I looked at my children and felt so truly blessed that I could practically hear violins playing in the background. Years ago, before I had my children, this was my fantasy of how it would be.

Then right on cue, plop, my youngest daughter dropped the whole bag of flour onto the floor right next to where her baby brother was sitting. The flour was everywhere and my baby boy was covered from head to toe with it. He looked up at us with his toothless grin and giggled contagiously. We all started to laugh until our sides hurt. I ran for my camera and took photos of my flour-covered baby and my children and our delightfully messy kitchen.

Later that night, after I read my children a bedtime story, my middle daughter said, “This was the best day ever!”

I couldn’t have agreed more.

~Dorann Weber

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