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The Best and Worst Parts of My Day

October 1st, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized


Linocut by Gillian Golding

We have a not-bad bedtime ritual for the kids that my wife started up a few months ago: just before we leave the room, we do a brief recap of the best and worst thing that happened to everyone that day.

It has occasioned a lot of learning about our kids. About the four-year-old, we’ve learned that she’s every bit as self-absorbed as any adult: nothing is quite as fascinating to her as the minutiae of her days at school. About the two-year-old Nico, we learned that he’s still a happy little idiot: no doubt he will one day be an astrophysicist, but for now, he keeps saying that his favorite part of the day was falling down at the park and hitting his head. Also, his worst part of the day is falling down at the park and hitting his head. Even on days like yesterday, when because of our autumnal hurricane, he never came anywhere near the park.

But even that insight–that likes and dislikes as well as basic truths are all fungible things to a toddler–is worth noting and remembering. So, too, are the strange fabulisms of Dalia–last night she said her favorite part of the day was when Anakin Skywalker gave her little brother Nico a kiss (this girl lives by the Wookiepedia). She waited a beat, though, and then allowed as how that didn’t actually happen. Of their own volition, both kids offered up more reality-based answers, something along the lines that that their favorite part of the day was when they came home and ate dinner (I know Nico  dug the Japanese takeout, because he kept asking for more “pimp tempura”).

The kids’ easy and specific accounting of their days always have a therapeutic quality for me, but yesterday I found it particularly soothing. Because the best part of my day yesterday was also the worst part: I turned 35. And as with most birthdays since I emerged out of the cloud of smoke that was my 20’s, I have no idea what getting older means except that it can’t really be good. Birthdays, particularly one that inaugurates the downhill run to reaching 40, could stir up a bit of anxiety. But you gotta love little kids: every day is just another day. The circadian cycle for them is a pleasant mix of truth and fiction and little details that they rarely overthink. They excel, in a way that would make the most devout Buddhist green with envy, at living in the moment. It’s a beautiful thing for me to emulate at any of life’s big junctures–illness, aging, career change: don’t overanalyze. Just be happy about your parents, your shrimp, and your Star Wars.

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