Years ago, one morning just beyond daybreak, I was snug in my bed, blankets tucked under my chin, sleeping the sound, deep, dreamless, sleep that comes upon a mother of two toddlers. When, suddenly, my left eyelid was peeled back from my eyeball. “It’s a happy day!” announced my smiling, cheery, three-year-old son Johnny.
So, that’s how it all began. From that day on, “It’s a happy day” often replaced the daily “Good morning” salutation in our family.
And that’s how it all started. That “happy day” business.
Throughout my children’s childhood, their elementary, junior high and high school years, yea, even unto college, I frequently served Johnny’s “happy day” announcement with their morning orange juice.
Sometimes the greeting was a song, a praise, an oh-yes promise of anticipation. Sometimes, it empowered them like tying on a superhero cape. Other times, I must admit, they echoed it through gritting teeth, an I-dare-it-to be-possible response, or tagged by a question mark. Sometimes it was received with the familiar eyebrow roll, a shake of the head, and the look of “oh, Mom, you’re always saying that.” A few times during those challenging teenage years, the welcome was received with a scoff, “yeah, right, sure,” coated with sarcasm and cynicism. But always, once uttered, it bestowed the hope that we might meet up with happiness at some moment during the day. That one moment would stand alone as a moment of joy in the long parade of bad day moments that we all experience from time to time.
On April 1, 2010, I started my Happy Day Moment project on Facebook. With so many Facebook posts that were negative, complaining, even whining, I was determined to use my status as a more positive platform.
My goal for this project was to make myself focus on some “moment” during each day where I could be positive, thankful, and “happy” that I was alive. To slow down. Just for a bit. And be grateful.
Throughout all the postings, I’ve experienced days with moments of love, joy, celebration, laughter, happiness – unexpected moments. But I’ve also had some days that were kinda crummy and achy and some that were soaked in sadness, sickness, grief and disappointments.
In every day, yes, every day, however, I found that “moment” that I could call forth as “happy.”
- Moments with God, His nature, His squirrels and spiders
- Moments with family, husband, sons, grandchildren (especially!)
- Moments with friends and strangers
- Moments noticing acts of kindness
- Moments of humor and the unexpected
- Moments in the ordinary stuff of living
- Moments of being thankful, appreciative, grateful
- Moments being aware, intentionally slowing down to NOTICE the little gifts tucked into EVERY day.
This experiment has been profound for me. For most of my life I’ve had a glass-half-full attitude, even when a diving accident as a 13-year-old left me a diagnosed quadriplegic. I’ve learned what being grateful can do, embracing each day. Life can be hard. I know. But every day that I choose to look for the happy, the good, the blessing, the love, the joy – shifts my heart and my head into a better place. A place of gratitude.
Look at it this way. “It’s a happy day” – that honest anticipation, that hopeful expectancy spoken by my child one early morning so many years ago can be an eye opening revelation for you too. Look for those moments. Listen for them. Wait for them. Be grateful for them.