One of our bedtime rituals is to ask our daughters what was their happy moment of the day. The idea is to pick one thing that stands out that brought them happiness. They always find something good to share, or if nothing particular stands out, they just reply that the “whole day!” was their happy moment. It kind of misses the point of focusing on one thing, like seeing a rainbow or a beautiful sunset or having ice cream for dessert, but if they think the whole day was happy, then shoot, I’m happy for them. Of course, they always make me share my happy moment too and I don’t always have as easy a time coming up with something. Often, I am honest that the moment we are sharing then, as I sit on the side of their bed about to kiss them goodnight, is my happiest moment of the day. With that recognition, the stress of the work day or other personal anxiety provoking issues can melt away and I am truly happy.
Literally the day after we declined the spot at Community Magnet, I came home from work extra late, my husband having done pick-up, dinner, the bedtime routine (when I say routine, what I really mean is the repeated nagging to get in their pjs, brush their teeth, get in bed, etc.) All that was left when I arrived home late was to go in to kiss them goodnight and ask them their happy moment. My older daughter’s happy moment was a new one and involved a longer explanation about how they met not one, but TWO kids that live across the street, unrelated to each other, that BOTH go to Carthay and that they played in the front yard and the back yard, until they were called home for dinner. She was so excited about this new discovery that she had a hard time calming down to go to sleep that night. In fact, the excitement continues. The boy is in her grade but in the other 3rd grade class across the hall and they have been saying “hi” to each other at school, while the little girl is in 2nd grade and has started coming over in the morning to walk with us to school, or catch a ride if we are running late. Now almost daily, both kids from across the street find their way to our yard. Luckily, the kids that live downstairs from us seem open to the new visitors as well and our backyard has become a playground filled with laughing shouting kids, purposefully ignoring any adults making any demands on them about homework or dinner preparations.
The beautiful weather and the extra company makes it hard to convince our kids to come in the house. They do their homework on the steps, they ride around on scooters and bikes and shoot baskets, beg for ice cream from the passing ice cream truck and extend the day as long as they can. An aunt of the 3rd grade boy comes over to fetch him for dinner and we introduce ourselves. We recognize each other from when I distributed neighborhood association fliers around the block last year and end up having a pleasant conversation. I explain to her that our girls are so excited to find out that her nephew has moved in across the street as they are not used to having school friends live so close by. “It’s like the old times”, the aunt says, “when all the kids in the neighborhood go to school together.”
“It sure is,” I reply, and I know what my happy moment of the day will be.