Good Days

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.

  • Ooo…wonderful. Here’s to the good-hard days, the men in our lives, the friends, and the laughs and tears along the way

  • Loved these words, friend. They are a breath of fresh air today…. yep, it’s ALL good. Scott and I were just talking this morning, as he asked me how I would identify/categorize our 18 years into five seasons. Even as we looked back at some of the hard…. today, it’s good because it has led to growth and maturing.

    • Ah, thank you friend! Ha, five seasons in 18 years. That sounds really, really tough to categorize! But you’re right – I’ll bet they were all really, really good. ;)

  • Thank you for this. This reframing of our experience. I like so many others needed this today. This summer, this season has been very different for our family. Thank you for helping me to see it for what it is. A growth season.

  • I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this today. Thank-you, is all I can say.

  • Once again, thank you for the reminder: Bad vs. good is not the same as hard vs. easy. My days truly are always good – loving family, good job, abundance and kisses and hugs and chocolate aplenty – even when they’re hard. Hugs, Erin.

  • Beautifully written & spot on. You wrote this at a time when I really needed it.

  • As a brand new mom, this is exactly how I’m feeling these days. You beautifully put into words exactly what I’ve been telling myself in the hard, exhausting moments. “This is good. This is for your good, Candace.” I keep telling myself, “don’t choose easy.” Thanks for sharing!

    • Ah, thank you Candace! Don’t choose easy is a great mantra!!!

      And you’re right – the time I grew the MOST was shortly after Bee was born. Brand new mom was the hardest badge for me to carry, but the muscles will develop if we use them, won’t they? :)

  • Well that is an amazing post. I am in the same kind of season right now. So exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed…but growing and learning and getting stronger all the time. Bookmarking this! It definitely changed my perspective on a good day.

  • Thank you for this thoughtful and beautiful reminder! Just the help I needed in reframing my perspective. I have recently entered into a brand new job role and at the same time transitioning my role as my mom (my youngest just graduated high school) and struggling with what my days will be like without the “hard” days of raising kids (which I miss already!).

  • Thank you for sharing this. As I read your post I became more positive about my hard summer. I feel ready for my day! I know I have said this before, but your writing is truly inspiring and beautifully written. Thank you for always sharing a part of yourself in your writing so that others, myself included, can feel connected to this world and know that we are all more alike that not. Cheers!

    • Ahhhh thank you sweet Maggie – I feel so grateful to continually receive your encouragement! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • i had a similar realization this week – All of our experiences are for our benefit and learning. Just because something is hard doesn’t make it bad. it’s just a different way to learn something new. The good days are easy, we learn to be happy. And the bad days give us the opportunity to learn the hard stuff.

    Keep it up!

  • Ever since my dad passed away, I have been changing the way I assess my everyday life: every day, indeed, is new and brings its lessons and since I am around to take those in, learn, teach… Well, I am quite content. So yes, I am pretty sure next year I will look at 2015 and see how things have shifted, and after all that’s what matters! Happy summer to you and your family :-)

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