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Recording Happiness

On Tuesday night, my kids were in their pajamas when I opened two mini memo books and took notes on a single question. “What was the happiest thing about today?”

“Preschool,” my son blurted.  He took a dive from his sister’s bed to the floor. “And playing dinosaurs with Jada.  She was a good friend today.”

He’d hardly had to think at all.

My daughter took her turn.  “When I remembered to bring my swim bag to the Y,” she said.

Yes…yes that was good.

Wednesday night, I was ready again.  “What was the happiest thing about today?”

Both kids looked up from their forks.

“Making spaghetti sauce with mom,” my daughter said.  I smiled. That was cute, but she couldn’t be serious.

Then my son affirmed. “Opening the cans with the can opener.  That was my happiest thing.”


Making spaghetti sauce had been a morning chore.  The red mess covering the counters hadn’t done a thing to boost my patience.  And I was certain the task hadn’t been fun.  For me.

Or happy.

Last night I reached for the mini memos from my dresser.

I liked this idea of happy moments.  We needed these.

Only the memos weren’t there.  His.  Hers.  Gone.

The pen, too.

“Where are your happy books?” I yelped. “I left them right here.”

I pointed where I’d put them, only no one was looking.  Both kids’ eyes had exceeded their sockets.  My daughter slunk to her room to recover hers from her beneath her blankets.  I cringed at its bent pages.

Then both kids wandered the hallway with drooping heads.

My over-reaction continued.

“How can we write down your happiest moment without your books?”

Oh, dear, Jesus…Could I even hear myself?

There were no happy moments shared last night.  Instead two kids sniffled in bed wondering how mommy could be so unhappy about happiness.

I wonder, too.

It’s Friday.  And the nodding faces of both my kids, their mouths crammed with sandwich, leaning in for a hug with the  jumbled words, “we forgive you, mommy,” may just be my happiest moment.

I think I’ll write that down.


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