And I struggle with every shred of my being not to smile, adding, "worst day ... so far ..."
I heard this uttered recently and in a moment of weakness, couldn't help but feel a twinge of parental remorse at having been the perpetrator of "the worst day ever" .. at least for a minute .. though skilled parental discipline wouldn't lend to the contrary.
"Worse day ever." I said later to the back of the man laying beside me in the nighttime darkness.
"The day my brother backed over our cat on the way to high school. That was a worse day ever." I began.
"The day I pulled those kids out of that rolled car accident on the way to school. That was worse." I continued.
"The day the back passenger window got broken out of my beater car and my parents decided to make me drive to school all of entire senior year with a dish towel duct taped in it .. that was not the best day," I go on.
"The day I stopped on the way home from the evening shift at work to chat with a friend in the local park and found the gate had been locked, consequently trapping my car. Climbed the fence. Hitchhiked down to the Waffle House. Borrowed their phone to call the police station. Found the officer in the next town over with a key to unlock the gate and let me out. Got home at 3 a.m. Faced my mom crying on the couch. Waited for my my dad who was out searching alleys for my dead body. Endured his angry lecture to me about moving out if I couldn't obey house rules and then receiving a most restricted life to follow .... that was a pretty bad day."
I heard the chuckle beside me in the dark and then,
"The day I snuck under the fence at that concert in Long Beach and felt someone grab hold of my leg yelling 'One move and I'll blow your kneecaps off', looking back to find an officer of the law pointing a shotgun at my leg ... not my best day." he said.
"You win," I laughed.
I sighed and let humor defuse a teenager's perceived "worst day ever" and my parental part in it.
Then lay there thinking about my best days ever. How many do I remember? How many actually perfectly perfect days can I bring in full detail to my remembrance. Laying on the beach? Perfect summer bliss? Days without a hitch?
Truthfully ... not many. At least not many of much consequence. Perfect days. They are there. And I love them. But there's nothing much to mark them.
Days, what one would consider most perfect?
Let me think.
There's the day I got married. A pretty perfect day. Memorably perfect? You bet. But most probably because of a wrinkled mess of a dress found on the morning of, heaped in a car. My tardiness to the ceremony and a panicked crowd stressing over a possible runaway bride. A small bruised-like curling iron graze on my neck and plenty of good natured reception ribbing. A honeymoon commenced in tears from a journey begun by whisking thoughtlessly away without a hug and word of thanks to my mother.
Perfect day. Most memorable for it's marrings.
The birth of my first baby .. and every baby for that matter. Each distinctly remembered for the details that did not go according to a perfect birth plan. Unexpected timings. Unknown genders. Quick changes. Weird diagnoses.
Experiences without a hitch may well resulted in a life of less distinction.
Every little child has a favorite pastime of scanning scars and listening intently to the story each one bears. Some we look back on and laugh. Some have made us who we are. The very definition of our lives.
As the final still of darkness closed on the so dubbed "worst day ever", I smiled to myself and decided, I'll take it ... so far. Because like as not, only in the markings is there ever a real story to tell.
And one day, they will tell these, too. Hopefully with laughter at the imperfections of a perfect flawed journey together.