A few weeks ago after asking Fiona how her school day was, she said, "Mom. It was the best day!"
Thinking she was exaggerating, I said, "Oh, really? Why was it so good?"
"I got to talk about Ronan today! It was so awesome." Beaming as she recalled the event, I flashed Fiona a quick smile and asked for more details.
"Well, we were in class and were asked to share when we were the happiest. When it was my turn..."
My mind wandered for a second. I imagined Fiona would tell her classmates about the surprise trip we took the kids on last year, or when she got a new-to-her-iPhone, or about when her team won a volleyball game.
"...and they were all really surprised!" she said excitedly.
"I'm sorry, what? What did you tell them?" I asked.
"Mom, you remember that day, it was the day that Ronan spoke a whole sentence! That was the best day ever," Fiona said proudly.
I looked at her. Was she serious? In all of her 14 years, out of everything she's gotten to do, out of every gift she's ever received, out of every day she's ever lived, that moment made her the happiest? I couldn't believe it.
"Really? Like really, really...that day was the happiest day you've ever had in your whole life?" I asked.
Fiona replied excitedly, "Mom, of course! Ronan had such a tough morning, but he made it better. And not just for himself; he made it better for all of us!"
There was no arguing with that.
That morning, Ronan had said a whole sentence. Blurting it out had surprised each of us and had brought happy cheers. It was a day to rejoice. It was a day to remember. Fiona remembers it as the happiest day she's ever experienced.
I was thrilled to know that one of Ronan's milestones had impacted his sister so deeply. I was proud to hear that she thought that memory so important that she had to share with her peers and teacher at school. This week, during parent-teacher conferences, I got to hear that story again. But this time, it was Fiona's teacher who retold it.
The teacher shared the story of Fiona sharing Ronan's sentence with the class. I could tell that the teacher was impressed with Fiona's choice to share that event. It wasn't a new pair of shoes, or going out with friends, or getting a gift that made my child the happiest. It was her brother. It was his accomplishment, and it was a major breakthrough in language that made Fiona smile from ear-to-ear. Hearing that story made me smile again. It made me count my blessings. And it made me cry happy tears, too.
Some of this parenting can be tough, but there are so many reasons to keep going. To fight through the tough days. To work through the exhaustion. To push through the pain. That's because good days exist. They follow bad ones that creep in.
Good days are remembered long after that day has ended.
Hearing that my daughter recognized that her brother's happiness impacted her own happiness blew me away. The day that she told me that story was a good day. Hearing the story repeated by her teacher made yesterday a good day, too. I've had a difficult week this week, but yesterday was one of the happiest days I've had in awhile. Here's to more of them...for all of us.