Sometimes I feel like I am the last person that should be writing inspirational anecdotes about my life. Half the time I am losing my mind and the other half I lost an actual tangible item and I seem to constantly walk around in circles looking for either, or both. There are days when I count down the minutes til bedtime from way too early in the afternoon and days I go to bed feeling so defeated that I wake up with a glaring sense of doom.
In between all of this, there are great days. I strive for more of these. I look back and try to figure out just which pieces it takes to build these glorious days. Are they random, accidental, and completely out of my control, or is there a formula, that with the exact ingredients and measurements, you could easily string together a lifetime of sitcom worthy, Martha Stewardesk moments.
My best days are probably not the ones I pull into MCDonalds and tell the girls they can have the McFlurries they have been asking for if they they agree to call them MCDinner. But neither are they the days where I manage to pull together the perfect combination of protein, fat and carbs that my children actually eat. So what is it that makes the hard days so worth it?
If you don’t hear laughing bursting through the window from my house on a warm day, you better see if we need emergency assistance. Even on the worst day, we laugh. To deal with stresses, to deal with anger, to deal with sadness, we laugh. We laugh at each other, with each other and at our selves. We laugh at present day, past and even at future possibilities.
There is a reason why clowns visit children in hospitals. Laughing heals the soul. It brings people together. It lightens the mood. Some of my favorite memories consist of simply sitting around with family or friends and doing nothing more than retelling stories and laughing. Maybe vacations and holidays gives me the material to fill these conversations, but what I love most about looking back on the simpler moments is the feeling. Laughter, like smells, just seem to have the ability to bring you back in time. Maybe it is so great because you simply cannot laugh and frown at the same time, or maybe laughter is just magical.
Whether we are just walking around the block after dinner, or running from Zombies through a 5K mud run, we are doing it together. My oldest daughter is at the age where she is more interested in her friends, but we do seem to bank an overwhelmingly significant amount of family time. Sure, we annoy the crap out of each other, but there is no one in the world we would rather be annoying!
Talking Things Out
Anyone with a teenage girl in the house can tell you about constant drama. Seems like just this morning I was wishing her a happy 13th birthday, yet she has been acting like a teen for years. Sure, in the heat of the moment we argue, but we always sit down and talk it out. I think we learn as much about ourselves during these talks as we do about each other.
We Learn Together
I don’t admit this to my children often, but I don’t know everything. The best part of not knowing things, is getting to learn new stuff. Whether we are trying a new recipe, checking out a new science center or just online researching something, we often find ourselves questioning and discovering new things together.
We Splurge Together
We don’t have good China, but if we did, we wouldn’t be waiting for the Pope to come to dinner to use it. We try to eat healthy most of the time, but there is hardly a frozen yogurt place we pass by with out stopping. We wear our fancy clothes to play, and we wear our play clothes to live. There was a good year where my now teenager wore her Tinkerbell outfit more days than she put on actual clothes. But seriously, why not wear what you want? I feel like my 5 year olds experimenting with kool-aid colors in her hair now will make it easier to refrain from anything so colorful in the future when she may have a dress code that prohibits it. I hate the saying, but it is true, you only live once.
These things may not be the formula for the perfect day, or the perfect family but they are the formula for a happy, healthy family, which seems pretty perfect to me.