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.