As my kids and I walked home from camp yesterday, with Oliver in the lead on his bicycle and Madame in the stroller, racing to keep up, I saw an elderly woman headed in our direction. She stopped in her tracks about half a block away, and I called to Oliver to take care. He’s safe and capable on his bike, but I’m always wary when the old-kids are walking along, slowly… I’d hate for him to take anyone out by accident.
Anyway, I heard her say hello to him as he rode past, and he greeted her in turn, smiling. She stood in the same spot and waited until I approached, her eyes held fast on Ava Scarlett. My little said Hello! and waved. They smiled broadly at each other.
The woman looked up at me and said, “I see you walking together all the time, and your children look so happy.”
What a nice thing to say. I mean, seriously.
“Oh… thank you! I think they are… at least, I hope they are…” Oh god, I hope so. “It’s not always easy. Sometimes I think I yell too much.”
She gave me a soft, knowing look and said, “We all worry. It’s okay. They are happy, I can see… and they love each other. This is good.”
“Thank you. So much.” Oliver was far, far ahead by now. “Um, I have to catch up… bye-bye!”
I thought about that exchange all night. Indeed, happiness and contentment are difficult to measure, but maybe when we remember to be grateful for all we have, huge amounts of happiness can be easily found.
And maybe a little bit of laughter. (Is that the trick?)
Maybe a lot of laughter. Maybe that’s the ticket.
Oh god, I hope so.
Laughed much lately?