best parts, worst parts

Our family does this thing at dinner. Best parts, worst parts. What are the best and worst parts of your day? Ben’s best parts often revolve around food and he rarely has worst parts. He shrugs his shoulders. “It’s been a pretty good day.” He speaks last because he is so busy eating he can’t form words around all of the food. Annie is eager to talk because she has many best and worst parts to her day, all of which must be shared, so she usually starts us off.

The rule is that there are no rules. Scott and I don’t get to judge even if it turns out the worst part of the day is when Ben got kicked by his sister or mummy lost her mind in the car. If their best part was that they got a smencil (a smelly pencil) and they saw a cool bug, awesome. Everyone is entitled to their feelings, their best parts. Sometimes the worst part is so embarrassing that we preface the story by demanding that “you can’t tell anyone outside the family” with a long, threatening look for emphasis. We have found this dinner thing a great way to start a conversation, rummage through their hearts and brains a bit (every once in a while their answers go deeper than a smelly pencil), and the kids know they can talk without fear of us freaking out.

So. Here are a few of my best, worst parts over the last long while.

It has been an intense few months for me. I was busy promoting Fancy Feet and then I became a part of the ICBC Road Safety Speaker program. From March to June, I spoke to 20 high schools, telling my story and talking about choices. The best parts of being in a high school are questions from students that made me think, clusters of girls saying thank you and meaning it, a 17 year old boy hugging me with tears in his eyes. The worst part is how old I felt. When I returned to my former high school, they said, “Oh you can find your grad picture in the heritage wing!” The heritage wing. Wow. There I was, one of only a handful of girls with straight flat hair among all the big-haired girls of 1992. I felt a little smug until I remembered my hideous grade 8 and 9 photos.

While I was having the busiest year ever, so were my kids. Between school, guitar, soccer and dance I discovered I could not divide myself into a thousand pieces. The best part? I was focused on 2 things – being mom and going to work. The worst part? There wasn’t enough time to do everything else and the guilt…the anxiety of not being able to keep up with it ALL was overwhelming. I can’t even. I mean, write much? And my legs. My damn legs. My legs will always pay for busy, for my unrest and this was an especially tough year for my fancy feet. My legs deserve a post dedicated to them, perhaps titled: so this sucks.

At the same time, and this is the best, best part, it has been one of the most meaningful, incredible years of my life.

 

18 thoughts on “best parts, worst parts

  1. Kerstin @ Auer Life

    It’s so good to hear from you!
    Every night at dinner, Pauline will start the conversation with “So, how was everyone’s day” and we just take it from there. My husband is usually grumpy because his knee hurts, I’m usually stressed because I’m taking on way too much work and the kids talk about the stuff that really matters 😉
    I hope you get a chance to rest your fancy feet for at least a little while in the summer! It’ll be over before you know it… Miss you! xoxoxox

    Reply
    1. heidi Post author

      Hi you! Yeah, sometimes Scott and I leave out the real worst parts for fear of depressing or scarring our kids, but it’s mostly about them and to get them talking. This was my quick catch-up post and now that there’s more time – well, a little anyway – I will get to more writing. I hope. Thank you for always being here – my faithful friend. xo

      Reply
  2. Karen Hendricks

    Always so real & relatable, expressed in a way that makes one laugh or just take a pause..the mark of a great writer. Like a painted canvas, your artform is a canvas of the mind..a visual unfolds of the Cave four sitting around the table, life happening..

    You are awesome friend. You never look a bit like you’re “trying” to keep up with it all..you ARE making wonderful music with your life. That’s how it always looks to me.
    Fancy Feet need a Fancy Holiday. I hope you get one soon..
    xo

    Reply
    1. heidi

      Ha! Fancy Feet does need a holiday! I said this yesterday but I’ll say it again – thank you. So much. You made my day. Now let’s go get a drink! 😉

      Reply
  3. julie gardner

    I love this hard, especially the part where you share embarrassing stories with the promise that it never leaves the family. “What’s spoken at the dinner table, stays at the dinner table,” or something like that.

    As a mother with teenagers, I can tell you that this habit of communicating with them is invaluable – my kids STILL like to be with Bill and me even at 15 and 17. Lucky me, considering you’re younger than I am.

    So I’d not only be in the Heritage Wing, I’d be in the Havisham Wing – in an old decaying wedding dress and dried out cake! Ha!

    Loved to catch up with you – hang in there during the worst parts and celebrate the best.
    You, my friend, are wondrous.

    Reply
  4. Alison

    HEIDI!

    I love the idea of worst parts, best parts. I think that should be the practice with kids AND spouses, together and separately.

    It sounds like a busy and amazing year for you. May the best outweigh the worst.

    Reply
  5. Brenda

    This was also part of our daily routine – spending time discussing our days around the kitchen table at meal times. Now that our children are all adults, we can see the absolute benefit of spending this precious time together

    Reply
    1. heidi

      Brenda, I love hearing that. It makes me feel like we’re doing something right and that the kids might actually still like being around us as they get older. it gives me hope. Thank you for this. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Ann

    I’ve tried to do this with my kids, and they usually aren’t very forthcoming. We did the “two truths and a lie” game a couple times, but then the focus was more on the deceit than the truths 🙂 You’ve inspired me to try again.

    Heidi, I feel like I’m looking ahead at the year you are wrapping up. It’s exciting, but also so daunting!!

    Reply
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  8. Erin

    Thank you for your inspiration! 1998 was also a hard year for me, contracting an illness that destroyed the white matter in my brain. I was in a coma, as well, and still have physical therapy. I just discovered your blog, but I’m anxious to read your book!

    Reply
  9. Shiela

    Thanks for the great idea of ‘Best parts, Worst parts’ at dinner time. I hope you and Scott are doing well and have had a great summer!

    Reply

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