Friday, March 9, 2007

Happy Wall

Last year my daughter went through a period of having terrible nightmares. She’d wake up 4 or 5 times a night crying and frightened. My husband and I spent weeks trying different things: switching night lights, special stories, new pillows, warm milk, even rearranging the furniture in her room. Nothing worked for long.

Then one day, I was struck with an idea.

It occurred to me that if she woke up in the middle of the night and could remember something that made her happy or some pleasant thought, it might help her get back to sleep. So, I created “The Happy Wall.

I taped brightly colored sheets of paper to the wall beside her bed. Every night we thought of something great that happened during the day, a fun memory, or a compliment - then we wrote it on the wall. Things like ‘You are a great roller skater! … Great job doing 12 laps at the Fun Run – Wow! … Congratulations winning the water gun game at the Fair! … You’re the most polite trick-or-treater in the neighborhood.’

Believe it or not, it worked. The nightmares have subsided and the Happy Wall continues to grow. Sometimes I catch her quietly gazing at it and it occurred to me how wonderful it must be to have constant reminders of all the happy things in your life. I think I would love to have a Happy Wall. To post all the compliments of friends and family, fun events in your life, even recommendation letters from your former colleagues and managers. To be constantly reminded of all the fabulous things about you and your life. To gaze at it every night before you fall asleep. Imagine how happy your dreams would be!

I sometimes try to imagine that I have a Happy Wall in my mind. When experiencing a breathtaking moment, to just hold that image in my head like the only thing hovering in the great expanse of the universe. Like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon at sunset, watching my daughter sleep so peacefully, the sight of a silver cloud crossing a misty moon, a big, comforting hug from my husband after an exhausting day. I could post all these things and more on a wall greater than the length of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maybe longer!

How long would your wall have to be to post all the awesome things about life? If you really thought about it… how long would it be?