My youngest son, Andrew, has many sayings he uses on a frequent basis.
He calls every outing with me – kicking the soccer ball in the back yard, helping me play the guitar, going to the park – an “adventure” as in, “I want a soccer adventure.”
It adds a nice touch to the old, “Let’s go to the park.” Instead, it is, “a park adventure.” I imagine that is actually more fitting. As J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in ‘The Hobbit,’ “It’s a dangerous thing going out your front door,” and one never knows what is around the corner.
Another of his mantras he unfortunately employs is when he gets excited, he likes to end his sentences with the word, “baby.” Yep, “baby,” as in, “Can I get a banana, baby?,” or “What’s for dinner, baby” or — in the worst case — calling his friends’ mothers “baby.”
Here is an example:
“Andrew, would you like a cookie?”
While at first cute, it has morphed into something uncontrollable. We really try to wean him off of this habit since 1) It is not always respectful and 2) I feel like I am living with Austin Powers.
But, he also has another phrase. And it is hands down my favorite. Whenever we have an “adventure” or daddy time or visits with family and friends, he always says, “Today is the best day ever.”
Wow. I love that outlook. Why? Because in the grand scheme of things, today is the best day ever, because today is the only day ever. To paraphrase a cliché, the past is history and the future does not exist. This moment — this here and now is all there is — and all that ultimately matters.
Andrew’s outlook captures that sentiment. He sees everything as it truly is – unfiltered by anxiety, unspoiled by regrets and taking in pure joy where it is found. It is a quality he is blessed with and that he blesses others with as well.
This illustration might sound akin to a quote from a Hallmark card, but it does bear merit, especially this time of year.
For adults, we tend to over-romanticize the memories of Christmases and Thanksgivings past. Granted, Christmas as a child can never be replicated – it might truly be the last vestige of magic in this world – but many holiday memories still get over-sentimentalized and become over-embellished recollections that we can never reach again.
I’m not being preachy. I have a tendency to do that as much as anyone else. It is easy to slip into. This time of year we remember and miss the company of old friends, the laugh of a particular relative who is no longer with us, the innocence that surrounded gathering around the table or the tree.
It is good to have tradition. It is good to have memories. It is good to recall the traditions, if nothing else to pass them on.
But it is not good to stay there. Because if you stay in the past, well, you can never move forward.
So as you enter this holiday season, I encourage you to truly experience it for the moment it is. Not to discard tradition, not to forgo reminiscing, but rather focus on making new memories.
Because in the end game, this holiday season is the best one ever.
Have a great and happy holidays.
Mark Wallace Maguire