“This is a really great day, Mom,” my son announced to me as we were driving home from the grocery store with a few odd grocery items we needed for our ‘date night’ project of baking cinnamon rolls. The words were music to my ears. For every great day my son has, there are five bad ones. There is a really great children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (Author), Ray Cruz (Illustrator). I am reminded of this book when son is having one of what he calls his ‘worst days’.
Don’t get me wrong. My son has a GREAT LIFE! I have often worried that he just doesn’t have the perspective to realize it. “There are starving children in Africa who would love those (fill in the blank)” is a phrase that escapes my mouth more often than I would like to admit. There are many instances, when I hear my son utter the words, “This has been the worst day of my life” that I pray for God to grant him a little ‘perspective.’ Today, I was blessed enough to discover that his nine year-old mind is getting it.
As I mentioned, we were beginning our date night. It’s a tradition my husband and I began when our kids were two and three, and it has survived our busy chaotic schedules without interruption every Wednesday night since then. It’s a tradition that trumps even the biggest holidays like Christmas and Halloween in our family. We alternate children and let them choose the events of their special evening. It was my night with my son. He was in one of his chatty moods which usually indicates that things are going great.
I asked him why it was such a good day. “Well, I got to garden and cook on Runescape.com, I had a good day in school, my tomato plants finally sprouted, I got more plants to plant in my garden, and we’re going to make cinnamon roles on date night and watch the American Idol finals. It’s just a really great day!” he said.
I love the fact that his ‘perfect day’ involved the simple pleasures of life. When I really think about it, mine are too—breakfast in bed, a long walk in the morning with only my iPod and the dog, yoga, time with the family, an afternoon under an umbrella on a blanket at the beach with a good book, a simple dinner watching the sun set, and sitting by the campfire with my husband drinking a great glass of wine. That’s my perfect day. It’s true that the best things in life are free, and yet it took me 40+ years to discover what my son understands so clearly at nine. (And I thought he was the one who needed perspective).
Then, in a sort of nine year old encore, he said this in response to yet another piece of depressing news resounding from the radio about the state of the economy. “Mom, in some ways I think this bad economy was a gift from God. It’s making people more aware of the things that they do have. Its making them find ways to save money and scale back on stuff that they don’t need. When they have to take care of things themselves, and find simpler ways to do things, that’s good. Sometimes I think God wanted it… No, I know He made it happen that way so that we would all realize what is important. And I think some of the crazy stuff going on with the politicians is making people remember some of the important things about our country and the way our Founding Fathers wanted it to be. I mean, it’s bad because I know some people are really hurting and losing their jobs and stuff. But, if they can just stick it out, they’ll see that this is really a great thing. They’ll be happier when it’s all over.”
This is what he said, almost verbatim. And I was stunned…Stunned at his perception and interpretation of world events. Stunned that he could see such trying times as an opportunity from God. Stunned at his awareness of the gift of change. Stunned that at nine years old he understands that the simple pleasures are the most important things in life. And relieved, that in all his pessimism, he can recognize and appreciate a wonderfully awesome, fabulous, very good day!
Copywright, 2009: Kim Bauer, wife, mother, and writer