“All Days Are Great Days”

30 Oct

It was a pretty normal Sunday afternoon. The weather was the perfect amount of fall: warm to remind you of summer but crisp enough to remind you why the leaves have changed colors. The Broncos game was coming on at 2:25 so the Dills were out running some errands and crossing off the to-do list. Yes, it was a very normal Sunday afternoon.

Nolan has begun a new activity — sitting up on his own. He loves it and wants to sit up literally all the time. It’s grown to the point where even when you put him in his car seat you have to force him to lay back so that you can buckle him in. And let me tell you, that little bugger is strong! He’ll sit in the living room and is perfectly content playing with whatever toys he can get his hands on… until he decides the opportunity to crawl seems worth trying out again. Lately we’ve been pushing his sitting up out to the outside world by having him sit up in high chairs at restaurants and in shopping carts. It seems like the logical progression in the no-rules land of parenting, right?

So as part of the errands we were running on that normal Sunday we needed to stop by Kohl’s for some quick shopping — I say quick, because it was already 1:00 aka t-minus 85 minutes. Kohl’s basically gave the entire department store industry the middle finger from the beginning. It starts with the ridiculously low pricing and discounts, and ends with their version of a shopping cart. The “cart” is hardly even a cart, but more of a large dirty clothes hamper on a frame that holds it open for you to dump in all of the hot deals you can find. Oh, and some of them have a child’s booster seat on the front of them. I am not sure how this design has survived because I am sure many parents — the type who believe that they should be awarded millions of dollars for gulping down piping hot McDonald’s coffee as soon as it’s handed to them — have rammed their children sitting on the front of a Kohl’s cart into a display case or door frame. Per usual, these modern day genius’ ruin all the fun for the rest of us. But stepping down from my soapbox, there sat Big Baby Nolan in his seat leading us fearlessly through the store. He really seemed to enjoy it, and aside from the one time where I ran his face through some men’s sweaters there were no injured children or adults during the shopping spree.

What we have come to find through all of our adventures is that babies are universally loved. Everywhere we go Nolan (or any other baby for that matter) steals the show with acknowledging smiles and warm compliments. It must be mostly fun for these parents/grandparents to reminisce back on to when their children were that age. That Sunday was no different as Nolan met several new friends, including another GG besides his own. This GG also talked with him for nearly 5 minutes. He really enjoyed that, smiling at her and banging his hands against the chair in pure joy. Me? I was in too much of a rush. In my selfish head I was screaming “COME ON GRANDMA WHITE HAIR MOVE IT ALONG!! I’VE GOT A FOOTBALL GAME TO WATCH!”

Then that changed. It never fails, does it? Whenever you, or your life, get too self-centered the world seems to re-center you. It started with an innocuous statement directed at Nolan and then toward the Mrs and I:

Oh! Hello there! How old is he??

Great. Another interested stranger. Does nobody in this God-forsaken place know that the Broncos, the Denver Freaking Broncos, are playing in just 75 short minutes!? I love the fact that my wife has a humongous heart and would never act like I (mentally) do in these situations.

“He’s 7 months!”, she politely and oh-so-sweetly responded.
“Wow! He’s a big boy… and he’s just beautiful!”, replied stranger man. Let’s name him Arnold from here on. The emphasis he placed on “beautiful” was poignant. You could tell he meant what he was saying. “I have a daughter, she just turned 20. It is crazy how time flies…”, he trailed off.

Enter our hero, Joel again, thinking “yeah yeah yeah time flies don’t it, like the fact that the BRONCOS ARE ON TV IN 72 MINUTES!?”. (*Editor’s note: It is very apparent that Joel’s brain/thoughts did not learn a thing from his many English courses)
“Thanks so much! Have a great day!”, I believe is what I actually said. And out of no where our new friend Arnie drops the bombshell:

“All days are great days.”

“You know, when my wife was just 2 months pregnant I suffered a brain aneurysm. I completely missed the last 7 months of her pregnancy between the hospital and rehab.” He paused and smiled as both Josie and I gushed the obligatory oh my gosh’s and we’re so sorry’s. “I really shouldn’t be alive. It was February of 1992 when I suffered my aneurysm and my dad had an aneurysm in February of 1986. He didn’t survive his. I’m lucky. Yes… All days are great days!”

I was nearly speechless. I don’t remember but I think that I actually engaged in some conversation with him after this. I do know it was nothing nearly as meaningful as he had just given me. Where did that come from? Completely unprovoked, that man just reset and re-centered my entire thought process point forward. I don’t know if that was a common story for him to tell, or he just felt the inner push to deliver a verbal slap-to-the-back-of-the-head, but in any case it made me stop and appreciate just how good I really have it. I’ve been given so much “great” in my life, that sometimes it’s easy to overlook just how “great” it really is. We have a home over our heads and food on our plates. We have a handsome, active, healthy baby boy that has opened up a whole new side of our hearts. We have amazingly supportive family and friends. And somehow I still find ways to complain about my days.

What if I didn’t have my days at all?…….

…… All days really are great days. Thank you to a complete stranger for being so kind as to remind me of the fact. Here’s to you sir, wishing you many more of those precious great days!

photo (6)

The Nolanator, before bath time last night


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