The Best Day Ever.

This is my five-year-old nephew’s favorite line this week.

Cousins hamming it up at Washington Park

The first time Alex said it was last Friday as we left the Oregon Zoo. We’d spent four and a half hours roaming though the zoo, ogling the fruit bats as they devoured broccoli and bananas, meditated on the giraffe’s less-than-graceful gait, rumbled along the train tracks to and from Washington Park, and visited every wildcat, monkey, bird and insect cage we could. With all the cousins living far apart, it’s rare that they all get together. But my youngest sister had left her two here with family and we took full advantage of it, enjoying the zoo, the train, the park and a picnic lunch.

Alex wasn’t far off the mark–I might not argue for it being the best day, but it was, at the least, a very good day.

The next day we propped the tent on the back porch and watched old Spiderman cartoons on Netflix and had grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. When he snuggled up to me long past dark, he told me again: “Today was the best day ever.”

“Better than the zoo?”

“That was the best day, too.”

It didn’t really matter what we did to him, as long as we were all together, it was a great day, a best day.

The simplicity is childlike and, I’m prone to think, slightly childish. How can every day be the best day? I know it can’t really be the best, but maybe there’s something I can take from his sweet declaration. These months of unemployment and lack of income have taken its toll on me and on my readiness to experience any real joy in the day to day drudgery. I am more prone to say it was the worst day ever, on those days when I get notice that my petition my was denied, that someone else got the position, that unemployment insurance doesn’t cover people like me.

The struggle continues but I’m going to try to remember what Alex said. I put his picture on my computer desktop, a big grin bending his face, his eyes into a happiness that is almost palpable. I put it there to remind me that it isn’t so much about what I have or don’t have or what exactly I’m doing, but it matters that I have family and love.