This morning I put my daughter on the school bus headed off to her first day of school. It wasn’t really any easier this year than it was sending her off to Kindergarten. Although, this year I didn’t cry — close, but I didn’t. Somehow she just looked so big this time, and after doing for a year it seemed routine even though it has been months.
In a few days, however, the excitement of everything new will wear a bit, and telling me about her day will become harder. It will become routine, so she won’t think of as many new things to share. But I crave information. I need to know what she did all day, I need to feel part of her world. At least a little bit.
Thanks to a family tradition I started last year, each night before bed I will learn about her day, and her world, “one thing” at a time.
Before I started “One Thing,” conversations used to go like this…
Tell me about your day.
It was fun.
What did you do?
In school, really? That’s all you did.
That didn’t work for me. I know little kids have a hard time remembering specifics from their day, especially as it becomes routine. But mom wants to know! K needed some prompting, so I established the nightly “One Thing.”
Each night before bed I ask K to tell me one thing about the day that made her happy, one awesome thing she loved. In the beginning, she needed help. So I would ask her who played with on the playground, who she sat with a lunch or what she played with in centers. Those small prompts helped her pinpoint a memory that was worth sharing. And suddenly she opened up about all kinds of details.
Now our nightly conversations go like this…
Tell me you one thing.
And she tells me one, two, three or more “one things” about her day that she loved. Then (here is the best part) she goes into great detail about them, and once she gets talking — she just keeps going. Once the gates are opened, she finds all kinds of things to tell me.
And, of course, she ends with, “Now tell me your one thing mommy.”
It’s only fair that I do the same. Interestingly on my most stressful days, when I almost can’t think of something awesome that made me happy, this simple act of forcing myself to think of something good brings a smile to my face. The original plan was to get her talking, to learn about my girl. But she is also learning about me, and I am remembering to be thankful for the little things.
What was your “One Thing” for today?