The Second Happiest Moment of My Life


Happy moments are those things we post on Instagram.

The happiest moments, though, are sometimes too personal, too meaningful to let people simply scroll past casually. They are those things we look to with what Wordsworth called the inward eye. They are the memories we hold tenderly and carefully unwrap to caress and remember.

Two and a half years ago, the second happiest moment of my life to this point happened.

A few days after Christmas, with my newborn fourth son sleeping peacefully in his orange and green nursery upstairs, instead of in the NICU isolette which had been his home for the first month of life, my family sat down to watch a movie.

Other families might skip over this mundane event, wondering when the big happy thing occurred. Was it after the movie? Did Jack suddenly start speaking? Did every boy in the house spontaneously use the potty, and use it properly? Did someone deliver a major award to our home while we watched our little movie?

None of those things happened. This is what did happen.

Dutch and I sat at either end of the couch with our three big boys between us.

A bowl of buttery popcorn floated from lap to lap.

The five of us watched Wes Anderson’s very Wes Anderson-y stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book Fantastic Mr. Fox, the whole way through.

Let me emphasize that no shenanigans took place during the entire film. No one screamed. No one dropped a deuce on the floor. No one hit or pushed his brother. No one paced the room, shredding papers, and cramming them in the heat vents or below the refrigerator.

Everyone sat. We sat beside each other. We stayed put.

We laughed at the cluster cusses.

We sang along to “Boggis, Bunce, and Bean,” and it’s progressively higher variations.

I inwardly thrilled at the last line of the movie, when George Clooney voices Foxy telling everyone to raise a glass, “To our survival!”

It’s the movie line that named this blog. I love you, Roald Dahl and Wes Anderson.

What happened that night never happened before and it hasn’t happened since. I relished the taste of calm, the glimpse of what could be.

Remembering it fills me with happiness.

Hope is happy.

  5 comments for “The Second Happiest Moment of My Life

  1. Ann Cannon
    April 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Lovely. Just like you.

  2. April 23, 2014 at 8:57 am

    That’s Fantastic! Pun intended. Really though what beautiful quiet blessing.

  3. April 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Calm and peace, definitely overlooked blessings.
    (And, what is the first happiest moment? Inquiring minds must know.)

  4. Kerri
    April 26, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I just think you are wonderful. I love this.

  5. MagpieLovely
    May 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I love that line and recognized that moment I stopped at your blog. We watched this movie in the middle of five years of under-employment and unemployment, at a low point when the uncertainty threatened to swallow us alive, when we could only see the people we thought we were distantly, with squinting. That line made my husband and I laugh and cry in a dark theater. In our family we still raise a clasped fist to each other (like the wolf) as a sign of solidarity and kinship.

    Now I think I love it even more. Thanks for sharing your story.

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