Life is full of precious moments. It’s also full of frustrating ones, challenging ones, heartbreaking ones. But according to a growing body of research (summarized nicely in the book Hardwiring Happiness), dwelling on the beautiful ones – the ones that bring a smile to your lips, a twinkle to your eye, a warmth to your heart – can change your brain chemistry in a way that makes you happier, and less likely to let those moments be overshadowed by the difficult ones in the future.
The other night I couldn’t sleep. This happens to me on a fairly regular basis. But this time, instead of getting frustrated about the passing hours of sleeplessness, or playing a mindless game on the iPad, or working myself into a fret about how I’m going to cope the next day with no energy, I decided to review my favourite moments. While some of these moments were one-off events, many occur at least as regularly as my insomniac episodes. But in most cases, their frequency makes them a little sweeter. And reviewing them makes them sweeter yet.
Some of my moments that deserve to be appreciated, reviewed, enjoyed:
That moment when the boys come running into my bedroom, jump on the bed – one on either side of me – and wake me up with tandem kisses.
That moment, every hour, when Little Handsome insists conversations stop, music is muted, videos are paused…all so we can count the church bells that sound outside our window.
That moment when Sweet Baby does a somersault inside my uterus and my entire belly convulses.
That moment when Big Handsome returns from a meeting, conversation or event with renewed excitement and motivation for his startup.
That moment when the boys come home from the library and Little Handsome reports, in his most excited voice, every item they picked up.
That moment when, snuggled up on the couch in the evening, I hear nothing but the wind blowing outside and the sound of our breathing.
That moment when Little Handsome becomes Mr. Brave, tries a new food and decides he likes it, complete with grand announcement.
That moment when Sweet Baby, after moving around for a full minute, stops the second Little Handsome places his hand on my stomach. (Little tease!)
That moment when I hear the Skype ring tone coming from somewhere in the apartment, and I am reminded that there are people out there who love us and want to connect with us.
That moment when a conversation moves beyond pleasantries and life updates, and I can actually feel the deepening of the relationship.
That moment when Little Handsome awards his daddy with a spontaneous hug or kiss, and a pronouncement that he always kisses dad on Sundays, or whatever day it is.
That moment when, tired and not looking forward to cooking dinner, I remember there are leftovers in the fridge and feel so grateful for my “cook once eat twice…or more!” mantra.
That moment when I find Little Handsome surrounded by a pile of books, reading silently to himself.
That moment when, while in the middle of chopping vegetables or washing dishes, I receive a gentle and surprise hug from behind.
That moment when Little Handsome abandons his precise pencil lines in favour of heavy scribbling after realizing he can use the pencil sharpener more often if he uses up the colour more quickly.
That moment when a knock on the door reveals a delivery person bringing something we’d forgotten we’d ordered, or didn’t expect to arrive so soon.
That moment when a notification on my phone reveals a personal message from a far-away friend, and I can’t decide whether to read it right away or savour the anticipation.
That moment when, mid-family dance party, someone makes up a new “move” (for example, the smack your armpit move) and it catches on.
That moment when an inside joke is born, and even better, when it is recalled and relived.
That moment when, after debating for weeks about whether I really need maternity clothes, I realize while going through the kijiji-purchased bag of pants and tops that they are indeed going to make the next 8 weeks better and much more comfortable.
That moment when I overhear Little Handsome playing with his trains and using the sweetest language (“Can I help you? Oh, thanks!” / “It’s hard. Don’t worry, you can do it.”).
That moment when Big Handsome asks, “Can I read to you tonight?”
That moment when snow piled on a tree branch, the sun sparkling through an icicle or fluffy falling snowflakes catches me off guard with the beauty of winter.
That moment when Little Handsome, with great authority, teaches me something that, while 100% inaccurate, is 100% true to him (for example, misheard lyrics to a song).
That moment when my bath or shower is interrupted by the boys because something funny happened that I just need to know about (and they’re always right – I do!).
That moment, in the early morning, when my disappointment at finding myself alone in bed gives way to pride that my man has the discipline to brave the frigid temperatures to go to the gym before the sun gets up.
That moment when, while reading a story together, Little Handsome lays his head on my arm.
That moment when, after receiving much inspiration from so many sources myself, someone informs me that something I’ve written has inspired them to soak beans or try a green smoothie, and I am glad to have given back in some small way.
That moment when, after humming Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer incessantly for five minutes, Little Handsome switches to Frosty the Snowman.
That moment when a spontaneous complement arrives and it’s just what I didn’t know I needed at that moment.
That moment every night when, after bedtime stories and prayers, we snuggle in the middle of our big bed for family hug.
That moment when Big Handsome and I say to each other, “How did we get such an amazing kid?”
That moment when, immediately after closing the door behind visitors we are so grateful for the visit with friends and simultaneously glad to be together the three of us again.
That moment when Big Handsome, after eyeing his plate of (admittedly not beautiful) rice and lentils with suspicion, takes a bite and announces, “This is really good!”
Sweet and Spicy Lentils
Adapted moderately from this recipe
6 maple breakfast sausage links
1-2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 inch ginger root, grated
1/2 apple, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp. garam masala spice
1 tsp. curry powder
1 1/2 cups lentils, soaked or sprouted
2 cups broth or water
Instructions: cut sausage links into bite size pieces and fry. Add onion, garlic, ginger, apple, raisins, and spices and cook until onions are soft. Add lentils and water, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve atop brown rice for a fibre-rich meal. Enjoy!