Every night it's the same. I sit with my two boys until the little one falls asleep, and then I quietly slip out, leaving the older one with his lamp and his stack of books.
After he's read for a while, I hear his quiet footsteps as he comes out to find me.
Mommy, he whispers, can you come for a little snuggle?
As I settle myself down on the floor beside his bed, he asks me his question, always the same question: What was the best part of your day?
The best part of my day. Sometimes the answer comes without hesitation. Our walk through the forest or baking cookies with you or when our friends came to visit or when we read all those books this morning. He'll smile and sometimes he'll agree; other times he'll have his own moment, and it's rarely quite what I would have expected.
Some days, though, I have to dig deeper to find my answer. He waits patiently, never rushing me, as I think through those long days in search of some nugget of goodness to share. He doesn't let me get away with a careless "I don't know" - no, each day must have something good in it.
He's right. Even on those days when everything seems to have gone wrong, I can always manage to find something to share with him if I think long enough. Maybe it's as simple as a particularly good meal or as unnoteworthy as stepping outside to check the mail, filling my lungs with damp spring air. Always, though, there's something, and this little child is the one who draws it out of me on those days when I can't easily see it myself.
He thinks these nightly snuggles are for him - and they are - but they're for me too. On those nights when I go into that room reluctantly, ready to be off-duty after the day's work, gratitude reminds me that it wasn't all work. There was beauty and joy, too, however small the moment was or however blind I was to it at the time. I leave that room feeling lighter, because what else can gratitude do?
Thank you, sweet child, for reminding me to end each day with thanksgiving.