At the apple orchard, we purchase tickets for a wagon ride, pose for photos next to giant plastic apples and wooden pumpkins, and clamber onto a tractor wagon ride through the orchard. Glimpses of blue lakes, green-algaed ponds, and rows of Harelson, Cortland, Macintosh, and Honeycrisp apple trees lurch gently beside us on the wagon, and I see his face again, serious, steady, a pensive happiness.
Climbing into the car this afternoon before we had even left the driveway, though, he was ready for joy. "This is the best day ever!" he exclaimed. This phrase of his: "The best day ever!" comes up every day.
Pulling up to the kitchen table and seeing spaghetti makes him cry, "This is the best day ever!" Hearing that his college-age brother is coming home for the weekend elicits it --"This is the best day ever!" ("You can pray," he tells John at supper that night, giving him the honor of praying for our family meal)
After small things even: time snuggling on the couch, Lego battles, or even longer conversations, Daniel grins, hugs us, and exclaims, "This is the best day ever." Sighing happily, he kisses us and then ambles off.
How do you live life so free and joyful? On sunny wagon rides in orchards dripping with apples, joy comes easily to me. Or while eating my share of the fluffy frosted apple turnover and watching him eat somberly, the joy is there too.
But to keep that sense of wonder in the kitchen full of dirty dishes or amidst the petty family squabbles? It's a choice, I'm sure of it. A decision to see the good, to grab delight in simple pleasures, and to exclaim it loudly, "This is a great day!"
Thankful for tangy fresh apple cider, for flaky popovers that leave me hungry for more, for sunshine and warmth on rainy fall weeks, for warm homes after rush hour, for a car that runs, for hot sudsy water to wash dishes, for family and friends, for God's gentle love and patience with us all, for sweet five year old sons, and for the wonder of science and seeds on this homeschooling day, I practice and learn.
Hungry for the best day ever? Take lessons with me from a sweet-cheeked five-year old and take joy seriously. Look, see, count, and thank our God.
(Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose too.)