Learning to love the "Bad Days"

There was a time when I went to bed completely stressed out, fearing what the next day held in store for me.
Two kids born with terrible cases of reflux, nights of marathon screaming fits, and fighting of bed times that transitioned into a very sick baby and a mouthy toddler, and I dreaded falling asleep only to wake up to another bad day… and the bad days were BAD. For a long time we had more of those than good and I just began to see every day that way, even as time wore on.
Days weren’t just days, there was no gray area; they were good or they were bad, and I classified them as such based on how the kids would act.

Who would have thought that one tiny moment out of one day at Disney World would change that? Certainly not me.

Like with any theme park, or really anywhere that attracts a lot of people- there is waiting to be done. Waiting for a ride, waiting to get food, waiting for the bathroom- it’s something you know you’re going to have to before you ever get there. Even with my permanent fast-pass, we still had to wait for things, and meeting Disney Characters was no exception.
The line to meet Rapunzel was the longest of them all, but the boys really wanted to meet her and we needed a break from being on our feet all day so we decided to just suck it up and wait it out.
It took a good 45 minutes to even get into the area where she was standing, hugging and meeting fans. With only a few people left in front of us (and my boys getting restless and I swear attempting to hurl each other over a walkway), the line suddenly came to an abrupt halt. Of course, when you’ve been waiting that long for anything and the line stops moving completely, you’re going to wonder why, and you’re going to look for answers.

As I craned my neck around the line, that’s when I figured out what the hold up was. Another family was being ushered to the front of the line, and I didn’t understand why until I saw a little girl emerge from the group and run into Rapunzel’s arms. This little girl had no hair. But that wasn’t what I noticed about her the most. Although I, as well as everyone else, knew the reality of the situation before us, the thing that most stood out about this little girl was her eyes. The brightest happiest eyes I have ever seen on any person, and a giant glowing smile to match. She absolutely glowed, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. It wasn’t that I was gawking, or that I was trying to pry into what was a special family moment for them- but it was special to me too.

There was this little girl, this tiny beautiful little girl, battling something harder than most of us will ever experience in an entire lifetime- happier than ANYONE in that entire park. And from what? Just meeting someone dressed up in a costume of a character she liked.

In that moment, I know it sounds silly, or maybe even cliche’d, I felt changed. It’s not that i’ve never known anyone who has gone through cancer, it’s that i’ve never witnessed someone going through so much, so young, leave all the worries and cares behind and have… well.. a completely magical moment.

This brave little girl, in just a matter of minutes, showed me just how wrong i’ve been looking at things. If she can experience so much and still have that beautiful smile on her face, and genuinely be happy, even with the hand dealt to her- why can’t I, even on the “bad” days?

I felt moved. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I was even brought to tears watching as Rapunzel embraced her, and how she was satisfied with just that one simple hug until she was called back for pictures and an autograph. She didn’t expect any more. She was happy with just that.
 I’m even brought to tears now just typing about it- the moment was that special, that rare. One I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about because I wasn’t sure I could do it justice, or the effect it had on me.

It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the fact that I have my children before; of course I did, and do. I find that as parents, we tend to get swept up in the whining and the crying and the monotony and irritations of every day life and forget just how special it is just to have them there. Healthy. Happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I will still think whining is annoying. I’ll still get frustrated and overwhelmed and fed up. That comes with parenting and not having the patience of a saint. I can’t control those feelings about kids, but at least I get the opportunity to feel them.

I can now see that days are just days. They don’t have to be good or bad because of how great or terrible the kids are acting, they’re just days- and i’m thankful to have them.

Posted on March 30, 2012 by Holdin' Holden 21 Comments
Holdin' Holden

About Holdin' Holden



  • Made me tear up. Snark Girl has a friend that had his 2nd heart transplant in December. Every time I see him, I literally thank God for my kids and my life. Very well done.

  • You really have a way with words. Just like when you wrote of your mom in your book, tears came to my eyes while reading your blog tonight.

  • This is a beautiful thing. I kinda went through something like this but it was about baggage and anger and how one moment in a wedding changed things for me. I so get this. This story touched my heart made me cry and smile. Awesome thank you for sharing this with us.

  • This is beautiful..I cried while reading this!

  • Brought tears to my eyes too — Not an easy thing to do. xoxo

  • Very beautifully written! Makes you glad for what you do have. Thank you 🙂

  • So, you probably don’t know this, but I’m working to be a counselor. Well, in one of our classes last semester, we did mock counseling groups, except we usually talked about real stuff with each other. It was during that class that I expressed out loud for the first time that I was finally feeling sick enough that I realized I might not live as long as other people.

    My doctors have told me that I should be able to live a normal life, but I’ve seen how rapidly my health has waned over the last few years, and that reality really puts things in perspective.

    I know that little girl would have loved to known that she had such a lasting impact on your life. It’s moments like that which truly show us how much we have, even when all the “bad stuff” tries to tell us otherwise.

  • Very well said.. I also had tears in my eyes while reading this. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • awwwww…. I have had moments like this never gets old to feel so extremely thankful of something you didn’t think about before made me tear up just like the rest of them. :)Thanks for sharing….

  • Beautiful words….definitely made me tear up reading, but makes me appreciate all the “days”!

  • My son was not supposed to live past birth, but he didn’t get the memo and next month he will turn 18 (gasp). He has been through a lot, 17 surgeries, with a couple more to go. He is my miracle child. The difficulties that he has gone through have changed him, and I am not ashamed to say they have changed him for the better. He is kind, and considerate, and generous. Sometimes, I used to ask him why he did things like give the candy that his friends brought to him (his dad would not let him go trick or treating, so his friends brought some of their loot to share with him) away to total strangers and his response was, “because seeing other people happy makes me happy.” So simple, so profound. When he was in 2nd grade and he stepped up to help a new student on the first day of school that was freaking out at being left, and my son got up and walked over and introduced himself and offered to help the child find his cubby and his seat…I asked him why he did that, and his answer made me both proud and broke my heart, “I know what it is like to be alone and afraid and have to do something scary, and I thought that I could help, so I did.” He was talking about having to go have surgery and be taken off into a room by a bunch of gloved, gowned, adult strangers…but he turned those experiences into a level of compassion that often takes my breath away. I am so blessed to have these amazing children, I gave them life, but they gave me A life. I got the better part of the deal.

  • Bless you for writing this. Sharing this magical moment with the rest of us helps us get better perspective on what really matters. I think you must be a wonderful mother.

  • Simply beautiful… Things are chaotic in everyone’s lives. Sometimes we forget to appreciate the little things. Thank you for the reality check… It’s all about perspective. Have a wonderful evening my dear 🙂

  • Definitely a beautiful moment……

  • This made me cry…..yes, things like this to put life into perspective.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • I think your writing is just amazing. Thanks for the smiles and the tears. this one had two tears running down my face beautiful.

  • This is beautiful. I love reading your blogs. This reminds me of the $1.11 miracle, look it up such a sweet heartwarming true story.

  • Wow, what a beautiful moment in time!!! Thank you for sharing such a profound experience. Happy tears falling onto my iPad right now!!!

  • I don’t have kids, and I love your blogs. Some things just put other things in perspective. It’s something to remember—even as someone that doesn’t have kids yet!