the jar

It started last New Year's Eve.

We didn't yet know what was wrong with Rico, but we knew this year would be tough and at the very least unpredictable, so we set an empty jar in our living room. An empty jar, with the promise to focus on good things when we could. We called it the jar of happiness.

Setting next to a little pail full of scrap paper and pens, we made conscious decisions to find the good when we could, and make note of it. Tonight we got to review our year - and it's funny, because looking back, it seems like a pretty good one.

There is so much happiness in our lives: Friends and family who fed us and loved us and made us laugh when those things were hard to do for ourselves; having a year of hugs and snuggles and stories and adventures; doctors and caretakers who spent weeks keeping watch over Rico; teachers who know that life isn't all about the test, or the term paper, or the book-in-a-bag, so they fed our kids' souls; church members who reached out to us - the list goes on. But this jar was dedicated to the specifics. Among the joys we relived:
• playing cards with Ken and Loretta.
• lemonade stands
• our Grease family
• hearing Tiny talk into the microphone in front of the whole school during 50 nifty United States
• the two big kids still laughing hysterically over "Emperor's New Groove."
• my family
• watching my mom dance
• a few notes dropped in by friends who stopped to help while we were at Mayo (we just found them)
• my school
• getting into Rock and Roll Revival
• Punk's art scholarship
• Kooka's pirouettes
• sleeping in my sister's room
• I like books
• the surgeon saying "very optimistic"
• dancing with Barry Lather
• Grandpa Vanderhoff
• filming a movie
• Frank and Eric
• taffy
• Harry Potter
• how we love people

Tomorrow we'll empty the jar and start again. We are not disciplined enough to write every day, or even every week, so we do what we can.  I love the sight of our little jar filling with brightly colored jewels of our day to day lives, and crazy as it sounds, dumping that jar onto the floor, felt more luxurious than emptying a piggy bank full of $100 bills. It felt like saving for a rainy day - but saving what was really important.