While brushing my teeth, a realization arrives so quickly that I spit, fast, wipe the errant toothpaste on my bath towel and tiptoe in my moccasins down the hall to the office, and I write this:
I have been evaluating my good days all wrong.
Nightly, I write a simple daily recap in my journal. It is a going-on-three-year tradition, a way to spotlight the small and to write down the good. “Fish tacos for dinner. Ken loved it; Bee said, “It’s OK Mom, you tried your best.” Neighborhood walk, grocery run, yoga, work. Reading She Got Up Off The Couch.”
I sometimes look back at previous years to see patterns, routines, habits I longer keep – some I miss; others I’m happy to have left behind.
For a season, I would draw a star next to the great-great-great days, the over-the-top days where the sun beams and birds sing and there isn’t a tantrum in sight, for any of us.
A string of starred days marked last summer – farmers market trips, local food festivals, parades, getaways, al fresco dinners with chardonnay and lightning bugs. I remember these days well.
But this summer, I am having a hard time finding the stars. The deadlines have piled and I have let myself become overworked, overwrought. It has rained seemingly nonstop, and Ken and I have been playing hot-potato with Bee – You’ve got her tomorrow morning, right? OK, I’ll take the afternoon – and last week when we stole a rare date night together, I slid into the booth of an Italian eatery and said, Where have you been? I haven’t seen you in forever!
I am inclined to call these bad days, but I am wrong.
Bad vs. good is not the same as hard vs. easy. I have starred my easy days, cloaking them in my memory as simple, fun, happy, productive, efficient. Good.
But the good days, too, are the ones where we grow, where we struggle, where we learn, where we fight. Where we fall into bed in a heap of tears and cry ourselves to sleep and restoration. The good days are the ones where we get up in the morning to face another day, fry another egg, clean another toilet. They are ripe with persistence and endurance and patience and grace and forgiveness and love, even when it’s the kind through clenched teeth.
Especially when it’s the kind through clenched teeth.
They’re all good days.
They’re all new days.
I will look at this star-less season next year. I will scan the pages and smile, remembering habits and routines I no longer keep, a snake shedding old skin. I will have grown. I will have endured.
It will have been very, very good.