Motherhood

What’s Bringing You Joy Right Now?

toby goddard-williams

Last night, I was walking home from the grocery store when the cutest thing happened…

Twenty minutes earlier, ominous clouds had blown in, and I’d dashed out to get milk and bananas, hoping to make it back before the skies opened up. But while I was in the store, the rainstorm began and I knew I’d be soaked by the time I walked home.

I decided to make a run for it and splashed through the puddles. Suddenly, I looked up and saw a little figure running down the block. As he got closer, I realized it was 10-year-old Toby!

“Mommy!” he shouted over the rain. “I knew you didn’t have an umbrella so I came to rescue you!” He held out his umbrella and I ducked underneath.

My heart burst! It was one of those sweet parenting moments that makes all the distance learning, grumpy mornings, sibling squabbles and whiny moments fade away. During these challenging times, these little things matter more than ever.

toby

What have your silver linings been these days? What has brought you moments of joy? Yummy dinners? Favorite movies? A great book? (I just finished Silver Sparrow and adored it; now I’m reading Just Mercy.)

P.S. Toby and Anton in conversation, and when Toby went on a date.

  1. Peta trendall says...

    Last Christmas my son gifted me a blank canvas. Painting is a lovely, leisurely, hobby (and an exercise in mindfullness) that I had fallen out of the habit of engaging in. It was such a beautiful, considered gift. I felt in that moment the my son truly “got me”.

  2. Courtney says...

    On Sunday, I read “In Five Years” by Rebecca Serle. It was good that I just couldn’t put it down, and I ended up finishing it in a couple of hours. I highly recommend it.

  3. Mara says...

    I’ve been having a very rough work week thanks to toxic management, and yesterday’s work day ended with me retreating to my bedroom to sob. As I walked in, I saw a perfectly arched rainbow on my wall — more than faint color you’d see from a prism, but a FULL, deeply colorful rainbow cast off my glass globe lamp. And I’ve been in my bedroom under the same light conditions for months now, but not once had this rainbow appeared. I was immediately filled with love and joy, for I saw it as a “cheer up” gift from my grandmother, who was my best friend and whom I lost suddenly a few years ago.

  4. Annie says...

    Love this, such a sweet guy!

    – Hiking! I am appreciating nature SO much right now.
    – Ice cream – I have never eaten more ice cream, and it feels really right.
    – Fresh veggie from my garden! What a miracle.

    Also – I feel like Cup of Jo folks would appreciate this article – Quarantine Would You Rathers for Parents:
    https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/would-you-rathers-for-parents-during-quarantine?fbclid=IwAR2EuTBBh3C2NuLVNHGCLQ2Qznnb4_IIl2RiYV2p7jlopXVipNalHbvzGVw

    • Madi says...

      Thank you for this! Just made me laugh at the end of a very tough parenting day.

  5. Daniela says...

    He is so sweet!

    What has brought me joy this week:
    -My husband making and bringing me a cup of tea. This will forever be how I feel cherished since it’s what my mom always did especially when I was sick.
    -The mom at my personal chef job telling me that for the first time in his life, her eight year old son enjoys food!! Knowing I played a part in someone realizing how yummy food can be is honestly huge.

    • Daniela says...

      Mom always does* I meant when I lived at home, but I still very much enjoy the tea selection at their house when I visit :)

  6. A says...

    **I’m not crying, you’re crying**

    What a sweet young man Toby has grown up to be!

  7. Kelsi says...

    Last night, my picky five year old tried gnocchi for the first time and declared “I just love these New Yorkies!”. My heart burst.

  8. This warms my heart so much! I hope my little boy grows to be as sweet as your Toby. <3

  9. CS says...

    Such a heartwarming story! ❤️ This was so genuinely touching.

    My biggest silver lining: I don’t have to work face to face with so many people right now, therefor I have more energy to enjoy family and friends. It’s like my limited store of social energy isn’t depleted by my work, so suddenly I have that social energy to enjoy people in my life! Plus, I had the energy to take care of projects that had been bugging me for years (Eg: my yard!).

  10. Mei says...

    What a proud mom you must be! This made my heart swell as I thought about the boy I hope my 2.5yo will grow into.
    Im recently obsessed with looking through recommended lists of picture books on Bookshop! Here Wee Read and Brave + Kind are two great ones.

  11. Michelle says...

    My best friends and I have a virtual happy hour every week now and it is saving me. I love in a different state from them, and it’s been so lovely to see them virtually once a week and catch up. It means so much to me.

  12. Peg Smith says...

    wow – thank you for linking to indiebound – I am consciously avoiding amazon and supporting local businesses, so thank you again for leading folks to another option

  13. CG says...

    I love Toby’s color coordinated outfit. I couldn’t pull off blue and green and red together.

    My 7 yr old offered and manually ground coffee beans (using an old Porlex) yesterday so my husband and I could have a coffee break in the middle of a crazy WFH day. :)

  14. D Smith says...

    This is so sweet! I am also finding joy in my baby boy and in having a healthy family in these uncertain times. But I can’t help to hurt for the Black and Brown families in Minneapolis that are now living in burned neighborhoods while their City Council members are hiring taxpayer-funded security personnel for themselves right after voting to remove protection from those vulnerable families. I am Black in America so it is hard to understand that if someone is banging at my door or breaking into my home, I may not have anyone to call for help to protect my little family.

  15. Anna says...

    Sweet Toby. Those moments of motherhood make it all worth it.

    I’ve repeated the line “Joy is not made to be a crumb” from Mary’s Oliver’s poem Don’t Hesitate so many times over the past months. It’s become a mantra to look for the silver linings and not tax the present with worries for the future, even when things feel impossibly dark.

  16. Molly says...

    Similarly, I got caught in a rainstorm recently while walking my dog. We were halfway through our daily 3-mile walk when it started pouring rain. It was warm and rather than stress or run back home I delighted in every second of it. It’s been YEARS since I’ve been caught in the rain and it was so nice to be so present. I could smell the rain off the hot pavement, the woody musk from the wet fallen leaves, it was refreshing to be cooled off by the rain and feel it pound around me. It also gave me a sense of community; one woman standing on her covered porch invited me to get shelter, and a man stopped his car and said that his wife loved getting caught in the rain and said he was so happy to see that she’s not the only one who loves a rainstorm and that he couldn’t wait to tell her. It was the nicest, unexpected moment so far this summer.

    • Kate says...

      I love this!!

  17. Maureen says...

    That is adorable! what a gentleman :D
    Just Mercy in next on my movie and book list! I think focusing on momentary joys is the only way to get through life in general, but especially this virus, economic meltdown and period of collective cultural pain. Just cuddling with my kids and reading books brings me joy and our bed time “family hug” that my 4 year old INSISTS on every night. LOL. Hope all is well with everyone. I firmly believe this is a period of renewal and change. Better things ahead, but it may be a tough road. Hang tight! Hold tight to your loved ones, or yourself.

  18. Ruth says...

    This is SO sweet. Little boys are the best (most of the time;)

    I am grateful for the uninterrupted time with my 16 month old son, Wilder. When quarantine began, he had just turned one and hadn’t yet learned to walk. In these last few months he has started walking, talking, making us laugh and forming opinions… he has blossomed into himself and I am blown away by the changes. We normally have a pretty busy social schedule, travel a lot, and stay pretty active. So slowing down and letting Wilder set the pace of our days has been the biggest blessing in disguise. We watch snails travel across the sidewalks, we make smoothies and drink them in the sun, we breastfeed outside while listening to the coos of a pair of nesting doves on our pergola. These really are some of the best moments of my life.

  19. Jacqueline says...

    I’ve been home with my 1 year old (thank goodness and Canada for my 70 week mat leave during a pandemic!) while my husband works a lot. I’ve been really struggling to find any “me” time when he is home because duh, there’s nowhere to go! But then my sister called and said she was baking banana bread and beading and my husband just looked at me and said “go.” It was my first time in her house since we reunited a few weeks ago and for an hour I sat, drank coffee, ate banana bread and beaded bracelets. Which, I discovered has a meditative quality very similar to puzzles. Big time joy in a small time activity. PS go Toby, what a great kid!

  20. Sirena says...

    I LOVE THIS STORY!! so sweet.

  21. Way to go Toby! Kids are such champions and the most beautiful reminders to me. If little people can be this caring, we all can be.

    I heard once in a sermon that it’s often the case that our hearts either harden or soften as life and age evolves. And it becomes a choice. Are we going to let it harden or decide to let it soften? For me, I’m choosing soft. I want to give the benefit of the doubt to the person who asks for help and understand that others say the wrong thing without meaning ill will. I want to give in to summer night swims and movies in pajamas half the day because I know those memories matter just as much as trips and birthdays. I want to smile at strangers in admiration for their well-worn shoes, crooked lipstick, hand clutched in a loved ones or on a book I’ve read or always meant to read. I’m just 40, but I know I have to pick soft and beauty or I won’t ever feel okay in this world.

    • Mariah says...

      @ERT This is beautiful and really resonates with me. I always think of it as a camera lens. Do I want to see the positives or do I want to see the negatives and the way I approach the situation and which perspective I am willing to see a situation really determines my overall attitude. I imagine physically putting a lens on a camera and that helps me visualize it better and making the conscious choice gives me a feeling of power/ownership. I love the visualization you are using with a hard, brittle heart versus a soft and expanding one.

  22. Hannah says...

    Wow, that just goes to show you are raising mindful boys who think of others. I’ve been reading your blog since Toby was born! Time flies! I can’t believe he’s ten already!

  23. anna says...

    this post was the attitude adjustment i’ve needed! weeks (and really months) of pressure all exploded this week: the weariness of working from home and being in lockdown with THE SAME PEOPLE EVERY DAY, worsening depression/anxiety/OCD, and a difficult friendship i finally had to set boundaries in. i’ve just felt so tired and hopeless lately, but reading this post reminded me that a) i am so so blessed b) there is hope all around me c) life goes on. thank you, Jo and all the lovely commenters!

  24. Vava says...

    How cute and very considerate of Toby!!! Wonderful!
    My husband took the day off from work yesterday and I took him to the Oregon Coast for a day hike. It was supposed to be a 6 mile hike, but due to a miscalculation on my part it turned into a 9.5 mile hike. Slogging through the dry dunal sand is quite the workout, let me tell you! But the beach walk was divine. Weather was perfect, we didn’t encounter a single soul, and it was just the best day. I look forward to the day he can join me in retirement so we can do this more regularly.

  25. Sally says...

    I’ve just got home from a friends house, where we were having a socially distant cream tea together. Her dog Ziggy is fairly obsessed with me, and every time I see him, he follows me round constantly. Today, I was sat at the table, drinking coffee and I feel a pressure on my leg. And Ziggy is resting his head on my lap, and gazing up at me adoringly.

    Then later we saw a Red Kite through the window. We rarely see them outside of really rural areas, so to see one over the town was a nice surprise. It circled around for ages!

  26. Marci says...

    While walking my dog in my neighborhood, I went past a small “lemonade stand” that did not sell lemonade. (Yes, even the smallest businesses are affected by Covid.) Instead, the three little girls were selling rocks (mostly landscape gravel) and homemade bookmarks and bracelets. I never carry cash on my walks but I told them I would be back. They immediately offered to *give* me their wares, and when I said I’d come back with money, they pulled out a jar of coins and offered me money to spend! “Oh, I couldn’t take your money,” I protested. They insisted I take a coin; a neighbor had given the money to them and they didn’t need it all. “We’ve been walking around the block and sharing with everyone!” So sweet!

    • Marija says...

      Best ever :)))

  27. The rainstorm yesterday definitely brought me joy! There’s really nothing like it – the drama, the feeling of invigoration when you get stuck in it, and elation when it cools off the heat and humidity. Also biking. I would have never biked all over the city like I have since COVID hit. Actually wasn’t a super confident biker and would have been scared to tackle the bridges or city streets but now I’m a biking warrior queen.

  28. Megan Johnson says...

    Ugh, sweet Toby! You’re raising both your boys so well (I don’t need to tell YOU that though :-) )

    What’s bringing me joy right now is having three solid hours every morning (I wake up at 6 and start working from home at 9) to do WHATEVER I want. I walk the dogs, listen to “How to Be an Antiracist” on audio, eat breakfast sitting down (and not while driving my daughter to school), text my mom, water my 30+ plants, practice yoga, and sometimes (sometimes!) get back into bed for a bit, among lots of other relaxing things. These past few months have been scary and draining (to say the least) but this quiet morning time all to my introverted self has been really, really lovely.

  29. txilibrin says...

    For me it is the time I’m spending with my boys. All day, every day together for the first time in our lives. I could kill them most of the time, but I know when I look back, I’ll only remember those three amazing months together at home.
    I hate having to work, cause I’d love to do so many things with them, but I hope they remember this time.
    They start daycare next Monday (I’d love to say no, but there aren’t any spots anywhere, so it is now, or nothing until the end of the year) and I’m going to be so so sad.

  30. Meg says...

    What a sweet gesture. Things like that are _the_ best.

  31. Anna Wagstaff says...

    My husband and I swim nightly in our pool. Most our conversations in the pool revolve around our garden and what we thing will be ready next to eat or how blue our hydrangea is or how long will our day lilies last.

    • Caitlin says...

      This sounds so utterly dreamy. I miss pools!!!

  32. Ann says...

    Not having to pump breast milk! I have an 8mo and a 3yo. With 3yo Nahla pumping was such a struggle. I’d never get quite enough and often had to get up in the middle of the night to make sure she’d have enough for the next day. As a teacher, I’d have to squeeze sessions into 15 minute breaks, and it felt like a lot. This time around Soleil and I have gotten to nurse together for nearly her whole life. It’s been relaxing and lovely. Lockdown with a 3yo and 8mo is not relaxing, but this is one thing I’m grateful for.

    • Sondra says...

      Baby snuggles, listening to the birds sing outside the window while I fold laundry on the bed, bedtime conversations with my daughter that involve debating our favorite ice cream flavors…moments that seem to be both inconsequential and monumental at the same time.

    • M. says...

      Pumping is such a pain. It made me so happy to read this and to know someone caught a break. ENJOY!

  33. Kristen says...

    Wait… he is 10?! T-E-N?! WOW. Time flies…

  34. Deidre says...

    joy always: my daughter
    fleeting joy: swallows, dusk, queer eye, books

  35. LL says...

    Idk why but apparently my comment, “BIG heart melt 💘💘” is a reply to someone else’s comment but it’s meant for Joanna

  36. Nina says...

    The most adorable story <3

  37. CEW says...

    I feel like I’m coming to understand what I want to do with my time here on earth. I’m uncomfortable with where I’m at, in the best way.. I’m growing.

  38. Steph says...

    This is… so lovely. What a sweetheart! Made my day to read. I had a small parenting win and joy the other day, in the midst of many low days. My 3 1/2 year old son is especially sensitive and challenging. Many days just seem to be endless bouts of tantrums, hitting, biting and throwing things / himself against me and anything around him. I read an Instagram post recently about responding to difficult child behavior in a way that emulates how we would want to be responded to if we were having an especially hard day, and it’s changed (most of the time) how I try to respond in his most difficult moments. Now as much as I can I try to crouch down to him, tell him I’m sorry he’s having a hard time, and ask if he needs a hug. It feels fruitless 95% of the time and I question what I’m doing. But a few days ago I was having a hard time and getting visibly frustrated, feeling overwhelmed at life and taking it out on some small thing I can’t even remember. Sawyer came up to me out of nowhere and just asked, “Do you just need a hug and a kiss Mama?”. Pretty instantly my frustrations disappeared. It was a convincing reminder that empathy works and that our kids emulate what we do and say, and brought me so much joy in a challenging parenting season.

    • That is so sweet! And how encouraging to seethe behavior you were working hard to model appear when you really needed it. ❤️

    • Fiona says...

      oh the sweetest, I’m glad you had that moment of seeing your empathy, patience and kindness reflected back at you in such a concrete way – sending big hugs to you generally

  39. Emily says...

    I had finally gathered my 2.5 year old and 2 month old and all of our stuff for a trip to a nearby park for hiking and a picnic lunch when I realized I couldn’t find my car keys. After watching me look for a few minutes, my toddler was elated when I found them: “Yay Mama! You found them! Good job! You found the keys!” He continued praising me for at least a couple of minutes. Just before that he’d been pushing limits by standing in the dog water bowl, so it was a sweet and welcome change.

  40. Stephanie Wood says...

    this site. I know the shit is hitting the fan but I so appreciate your content and writers.

    • Rusty says...

      Y E S !
      THIS!!!

  41. Alex says...

    Such a beautiful moment, when your child cares for you, for a change!! I’m feeling a moment of connection because we always run out of milk and bananas too!!

  42. Eileen says...

    This made my evening. I have 2 young boys who have those delightful moments where they show kindness and thoughtfulness towards others and I think, “okay, we’re doing okay with them. They are going to be okay.”
    Love reading all the comments. Definitely bringing me joy today. Thanks, y’all.

  43. My fiancé and I got married on Zoom! It was just us in our apartment with all our family and friends on video. We were hesitant to make the decision at first after covid changed our in-person wedding plans, but we were so ready to be married and didn’t want to put anyone at risk. I was sad not to be able to hug my mom and dad, but the day ended up so beautiful and full of joy. Walking down the “aisle” in our hallway, sharing our vows, dancing with everyone over video… it was a really emotional day that didn’t feel like a compromise at all. Plus, so many of our friends and relatives told us how much of a bright spot it was for them too, which is just what we hoped. <3

    • Amy says...

      That’s really sweet, Jennifer. Glad you and your fiance went ahead with your plans. With everything happening, life doesn’t stop, and it’s important to make space for these big moments. Congratulations!

    • Agnès says...

      That’s amazing Jennifer and it seems so right! the best moment to get married is exactly when you’re ready! Bravo!

    • Robyn says...

      Congratulations, Jennifer!!

    • M says...

      Congratulations! I love this story.

  44. Tara says...

    Similar story! Got caught driving home in a downpour and was waiting in my car for the rain to die down. Next thing you know, my 9 yo daughter is knocking at the window, smiling under an umbrella to help me in the house. She’s the best!

  45. Dana says...

    The state parks are bringing me so much peace! If I’m with my dog swinging in my tree hammock on the beach, going on long hikes, or launching my kayak to explore the park on the waterways, I’m so grateful for the open space to just be. The other day, I kayaked around to find a little island in the middle of the river where there were sandbars in clear water. No one was there. It was heaven.

  46. amy says...

    My friend Chris and I have been friends for over 30 years (since about 5th or 6th grade). I have since got married, stayed close to home, been teaching art, and have a daughter. Chris has continuously traveled and lives a free-flow life. Somehow we have stayed connected even when long spans of time have gone by since he and I talk. There is never any resentment for not hearing from one another. During this pandemic, we started texting more and even calling each other to share little joys we have experienced. I will get photos of the farm he passes on his daily walks and I share photos of my garden as things bloom. It has been such a joy to have a more consistent connection with my old friend!

  47. Evel says...

    such sweet and thoughtful Toby.

  48. Jen says...

    Evening walks: sometimes just me and husband, sometimes me with one or both kids, sometimes all of us together. We did this pre-confinement but not with the regularity or gusto of recent months, when outings in our area were restricted from 10am-7pm. There is something about walking that turns even the most reticent child into a Chatty Kathy, and I’ve often come home thinking Ok, life in all these stages will be fine, as long as we can walk and talk.

  49. After three months quarantining at dock aboard our 40′ sailboat in Mexico, a kind friend offered us her nearby beach house. We’re headed home to our ship tomorrow after a lovely month in that house, refreshed and able to set sail again! Our one sadness about leaving was missing the chance to see the baby swallows who’d hatched outside the bedroom window take flight — then yesterday, on our next to last day, they did! We spent hours watching the four fledglings getting lessons from their parents. It renewed our hope in everything.

  50. Carrington says...

    This brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful for my little son who also can show me such an intense love!

    • Lulu says...

      Me too Carrington! What a beautiful boy. I hope my own son grows up to be thoughtful and adventurous like this.

      This made my day. *This* post brings me joy, for it has hope.

  51. Ceridwen says...

    This is beautiful! What a kind soul and the think I keep picturing is the moment when he must have often the idea to rescue you. Noticing the rain, thinking of you, springing into action!

    I ordered some flowers online. They arrive in a box and instructions the younarrange them. It was such a lovely thing to do. Then my daughter collected the stems and leaves I had trimmed and made her own arrangement. My older daughter was complimenting her so genuinely – “it’s very modern”. All the spiky off cuts sticking out of a pasta jar. My youngest kept taliking about her “arrangement” with pride.

    Later that day my eldest baked choc chip biscuits, but had to bake them in our bbq because our oven died. We went for a walk as a whole family and my husband got coffees…we just strolled around on the grass.. I had been for a long run that morning and I could feel it in my legs. I finished a booked – writers and lovers! So good and thank you CoJ for the recommendation. We all watched Masterchef while texting my parents that evening, nestled on the couch. It was kind of a perfect day now I think about.

    • CEW says...

      These small happy moments are what make up our lives. What a lovely portrait of your day. :)

      I have a 5 year journal where you simply write one or two sentences about the day. I turned it into a gratefulness journal, and chose to write something positive every single day. Much of it is moments like these. I’m a few days away from writing in it for a year straight, so I’m looking forward to getting to read all the nice things that happened… ah :)

  52. Nicki says...

    We were in the middle of an international move when COVID hit, so my family ended up getting separated. With my husband still stuck in our old home when borders closed, I spent the first ten weeks in our new home in quarantine with my two little girls (3 and 5 years old) without a single piece of furniture. We shared a mattress on the floor as we waited for our shipment and furniture to arrive. There were some difficult moments, settling into a new life and job (WFH), and not knowing when we would see my husband again – but every night when I crawled onto that mattress with my babies (with whom I haven’t regularly shared a bed since they were six months old) I was just so grateful for the chance to hold them and kiss the tops of their heads while they slept.

    My husband finally joined us last week, after international flights resumed (and the kids were excited to move into their new beds in their own room). I’m so happy to have him back – but I cannot tell you how much joy and comfort I got from being able to fall asleep with my children’s bodies nestled into mine during those first few challenging weeks.

    • Becca G says...

      I have a six month old little girl, and your post made me smile. I love your sweet outlook about such a trying experience. Cheers to you and those long days and precious nights.

    • Lindsey says...

      What an amazing and terrifying adventure. Glad your’e back together!

    • Megan says...

      Love this! That gives some much needed perspective to our time in quarantine. We’ve reached the bottom of the barrel on Netflix but at least we have each other and furniture!

    • Rheeds says...

      That sounds really really hard Nicki. Hats off to you & please recharge when you get the chance.

    • Graciela says...

      Nicki you are such a strong woman and aninspiration!
      I was also at home with my 18month old boy with my husband abroad. I can totally understand the feeling of gratitude among all the difficulties. I wish you, your daughters and your husband the best in your new environment

    • MB says...

      Wowza, what an experience. Your perspective and outlook on it have made all the difference – it’s inspiring!

  53. Katie says...

    That photo (:

  54. Gill F. says...

    Hitting the hiking trails after a really bad chronic illness flare.
    Getting icecream at the icecream stand from down the road and licking sticky drips from my arm in the hot summer sun.
    Giving myself extra time in the morning to lay in bed with my cats for a bit.
    Catching up on pleasure reading now that grad school is over.
    Sending and receiving postcards from friends I haven’t seen in far too long.
    Watching the veggies we planted grow.

  55. marcella says...

    Things are getting pretty crazy here in Texas (since our governor decided to open things up way too early……) but small things that have brought joy: Nadiya in the Kitchen on Netflix (I binged it this weekend! she’s great), the Pride parade I happened upon in my neighborhood during an after work walk, and a fig tree on my run today where I snatched 3 figs :)

    • Julie says...

      I binged Nadiya in the Kitchen too. Everything about her is uplifting. The new season of Somebody Feed Phil has a different but still mood boosting quality that I’ve enjoyed. He so genuinely seems to love people and want to connect with them. I hope you and yours are staying safe!

    • Blandine says...

      I also love Nadiya in the kitchen! She is so relatable somehow (despite her pristine, stylish kitchen, her perfect make-up and non-picky children ha ha).

  56. Imin says...

    I loved this whole story, but my first thought was, “Toby is ten?!”

    Thank you for sharing!!

  57. Christina says...

    So happy for you, your s/o and baby boy Cara!!!!!!

  58. That’s so lovely.

    My little girl (4 years) just tried Reading Egg yesterday for the first time. She was having so much fun, especially after seeing that her sister did “homework” using ipad for weeks now.
    The funny moment was when she woke up from her nap, even in her sleep face, she walked right to the ipad just waved me “mom, I’m going to continue to do my homework”. :)

  59. Nix says...

    As someone who commutes by foot, I can’t recommend Dark Sky enough. It’s insane how accurate it is and has saved me from getting drenched so many times!

    https://darksky.net

  60. I was out walking with my 3.5-year-old when he turned to me and said, completely out of the blue, “Mama, don’t worry, when I am far away, I hold you in my love.” I almost started crying it was so sweet. And then, of course, he went right back to talking about the perfect stick he wanted to find, because that’s how those darling 3.5-year-old brains work!

  61. Tara says...

    This made me cry. Saw your sweet boys playing in the park today. <3 What sweethearts, both of them!

  62. Jessica O'Malley says...

    My husband and I have both been working from home since March with our 4-year-old son home with us. Despite being together non-stop for well over 100 days, every once in a while I’ll walk into a room and my son reacts like he hasn’t seen me in ages, enthusiastically shouting “Mommy!” and running to me with arms spread. It’s pure bliss.

  63. Laura says...

    I’m having a difficult time feeling joy lately- not only with everything going on in the world but also because I’m stuck at an awful job at a time when there really aren’t other opportunities. My bosses have become really mean and don’t understand how tech stuff works which we have to rely on so heavily, plus they’re asking more of me and changing my hours so I work more on weekends. It’s exhausting but I can’t quit because there’s no way I’ll be able to find another job in this economy. But this post reminded me to seek out joy and try to find happiness in the midst of bad times. I’m excited about the dinner my husband’s about to cook and ice cream sandwiches for dessert!

  64. Wonderful!! I started a #makejoycontagious campaign
    In Boise Idaho at the outbreak of Covid-19 to teach my newly homeschooled twins about guerrilla art and that
    We can spark joy in a time of Covid fear and Sorrow. We art bomb the city with brightly painted tumbleweeds and see how it delights people and helpS to shifts perspectives. We have enjoyed a positive response and the neighboring city recently gave me a grant To continue and spread joy beyond! Spread joy
    Not COVID-19 had been so fun for myself and all involved! Joyful girls here in Boise! Xoxo

    • Jessica says...

      Oh my gosh – I have seen the tumbleweeds around town and they make my families day! We have been wondering where they are coming from but didn’t want to spoil the fun by googling it. I am amazed that the answer is in the comments section of CoJ. Thank you for brightening up Boise during this not so bright time.

  65. Vicki says...

    This post and all lovely comments has cheered me up on a day when I needed it! We emigrated here to Rhode Island 3 years ago from the UK and we now have a 15 month old baby / almost toddler. I never really managed to meet other ‘mummy friends’ and I’ve been finding it so isolating lately, not having family nearby, and not knowing anyone else in a similar position to me, (perhaps because we adopted our baby and with adoption, in our experience at least, you don’t necessarily join any antenatal or breastfeeding etc groups that I think you probably do if you are pregnant). Although we live in a beautiful area, and I have a super supportive (and long suffering!) partner and a rewarding part-time job, there’s definitely a missing puzzle piece for me without a mummy network. Plus, it’s definitely not the optimum time to try to meet new people! So….for now I just have to hang in there and find the daily joy in the smell of my baby’s nape, the feel of her soft, chubby thigh as I cuddle her and the feel of her sweet curls as I stroke her head. Thank you Jo, for this lovely online space to hang out in :)

    • Rachel says...

      If I was in Rhode Island, I would hang out with you! My son is almost a year old and I’ve found that mommy networks fluctuate (harder to maintain after mat leave is over), but there is nothing like chatting with the mom of another baby :). Also, I used to live in the UK and loved it. Best wishes!

    • Jenny says...

      Sending hugs and strength across the pond, Vicki.

    • K says...

      Vicki, being a new mom can feel very isolating, but it sounds like you possess a bold spirit that has carried you through the adoption of a new country and the creation of a new family. Without knowing anything else about you, knowing those two facts makes me confident that you’ll weather this season and stand ready to embrace the opportunity to make some new mum friends when our little worlds expand again. In the meantime, take heart. You are part of the vast sisterhood of mothers and we embrace you!

    • Emily L says...

      Aw Vicki I feel for you! I moved to Vermont from Maryland 6 months ago and it’s been really hard to make friends. In an odd way this is reassuring to know that I’m not the only one struggling. I need to remind myself of what I would tell you: it’s really hard, but it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong! I’m glad to have this network we can confide in! I hope you find “your people.”

  66. Sara b says...

    I have three boys who are 5, 3, and 1. Every morning, my oldest boy gets out his brothers toothbrushes, puts the toothpaste on, and puts them on the bathroom counter for them. It’s such a small, sweet act of love that he started all by himself.

    We also got a rehomed dog a few months ago. I’ve never had a pet and I definitely wasn’t an animal person, but this old girl greets me in the garage when I get home, stands by the bathroom door to wait for me, and always comes to lean on me when I’m sad. Who knew I would fall in love with a smelly, gassy, stubborn, wonderful dog.

  67. Ari says...

    Toby! What a sweetheart. My almost 2-year old is my major joy. Last week when he woke up from his nap, I asked him “Do you want to paint or bike to the creek to throw rocks?” (his favorite activities lately) and he said, “No….talk mommy,” and gave me a huge smile. He just wanted to sit and talk to me. He just. Wanted. To sit. And TALK. To ME! <3

    • CEW says...

      LOVE. <3!!

    • Oh great I’m crying now

  68. Cynthia says...

    A family (leash) of foxes, mom, dad and 3 kits appeared one day in our suburban neighborhood. Eventually, we discovered their new den was under our neighbors’ deck and I was anxious about their welfare and that of our local pets. I had always wanted a resident fox, but perhaps 5 were a bit much. But what a delight to watch them cavort in our driveway at night and rest at leisure in our yard early in the morning. It also helped that the rabbits and squirrels kept their social distance so my emerging plants were safe to sprout unchomped in my garden. What a wonder! They stayed for about 5 days. Dad and 2 kits left under cover of night, but my husband and I watched as Mama and one kit emerged from their temporary home, took one last look back and scampered under the fence. Ten minutes later, a large bunny entered the yard and made its way directly into the abandoned den to check it out. All clear! And so, the chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels reclaimed their territory.
    We were bereft. I actually cried and was sad for days. I know I was grieving for more than the loss of Freddy and Fiona (yes, of course, I named them).
    However, this was one silver lining and a joy to experience.

  69. Abbe says...

    Ever since the start of the pandemic, my kids and I have been “collecting” parks around the Mpls-St. Paul metro area.

    We have this amazing parks system called the Three Rivers Parks District, and every Sunday morning I throw them in the van with a backpack of snacks and we go out for an adventure at one we haven’t been to yet.

    Sometimes we hike for up to 2 hours! (Not bad for 3.5 y/o twins with their 9 y/o sister.) They’re so interested in the birds and plants and insects, and it’s fun to see their vocabulary and sense of adventure grow. They come home “good tired” and everyone’s happy.

    It’s something that’s bringing me big joy right now and fulfills some of that urge to travel and see new things. Even at peak times we hardly ever run into anyone so it’s a nice reprieve from the stress of potential contact when you live in the middle of a large city.

    • Lauren says...

      oh hey neighbor!! I’m in the Three Rivers Parks area too!!

    • Abbe says...

      Love that, Lauren! :) We’re really lucky to have them!

  70. Carolyn says...

    I love this.
    My boys and I talk about “filling each other’s jellybean jars”, as a metaphor for taking care of each other or looking out for one another’s needs. We can also top up our own jars by engaging in self-care.
    At the end of the tough, long days, when I’m exhausted and struggling to get the guys to bed, I’ll often use this analogy saying, “Mommy’s jellybean jar is getting pretty empty. Once you are in bed, I can do a few things to fill it up again, like take a bath or read a good book. Can you help me put a few beans in my jar?”.
    I guess it’s sinking in because, lately, my 7 year old has been checking in with me intermittently throughout the week, saying “Mommy, I just want to check in with you. How many jelly beans are in your jar? How can I help you fill it up?” ❤❤❤

  71. Lindsey says...

    My 5 year old son drew me a map that I have pegged to my wall in my home office. He told me with the most intense sincerity – “now even after stay home days you’ll always know the way back to me.”

    Oh my heart.

    May this season help us find new maps to our hearts.

    • Leslie says...

      That is so precious!

    • LIndy says...

      This is so beautiful!

    • Susan Young says...

      This put a lump in my throat. ❤️

  72. Rebekah says...

    Quarantine has brought my girls (4 and 6) closer together than ever. We all stayed at home together until last fall, when I went back to work and they went to preschool and kindergarten. They were great playmates until that time, but I’d noticed that they’d fallen out of sync and were really snippy toward each other in the evenings. Now, they adore each other again, they rarely fight, and they truly seem thankful to have one another. My favorite thing? They call each other Snugglebug. Ha! I love working from my desk and hearing one call out to the other: “Where are you, Snugglebug?” So cute.

    • Allison says...

      My kids (also 4 and 6!) fight like cats and dogs after school but when they’re quarantined together and each other’s only playmates? Best friends. It’s totally the opposite of what I would expect but I’ve been so grateful for it!

  73. Jenny says...

    This is gonna make me sound old but…. Toby looks so big! So grown up!
    I’m studying for USMLE Step 1, a really hard medical school test. I’m clinging to joy from my sweet dog’s lateral wiggles, the smell of summer in the nighttime, and running on trails through trees. Yesterday, I saw a grandma bent over to point out a plant to her granddaughter. I realized I haven’t seen anyone old or young for so long in quarantine! They were so sweet together!

    • Clare says...

      Jenny! Good luck! I took Step 1 two weeks ago today.
      I hope you get some time to relax afterward. Sitting on a camp chair in my backyard post-exam felt like the height of luxury.
      Sending hugs. You’ve got this!

    • Caitlin says...

      Take care Jenny! I’m starting residency this week and just wanted to say I feel for you, you’ve got this and you’ll be done before you know it and on to bigger and better things.

    • Lisa says...

      You got this, Jenny! I am more years out from Step 1 than I care to admit (16?) and have continued clinical work through this entire cluster we’re all in. As has my partner. While we somehow try to keep being decent parents. And children to our own parents. And neighbors. And allies. It’s a lot, it’s busy, it’s as crazy as usual, and I wouldn’t change it. (Except maybe, you know, the cluster.)

  74. Cynthia says...

    Toby is such a sweetheart! Right now, I’m enjoying all the rabbits in various sizes in our yard. Sunday, coming home from our camper, we saw two fawns leap over a fence to Mama Deer who was waiting in the woods. My neighbor planted a patch of assorted wildflowers and they are so pretty! My husband and I are retired and we’re really enjoying each other and our chihuahua-rat terrier mix, who’s a real character. I’m very grateful for the gourmet meals my husband prepares.

    • Annie K. says...

      Cynthia, this paints a lovely picture. I feel like I stepped into your world for a moment. Thank you!

  75. S says...

    Playing card games and working out from home with my husband everyday! And seeing more of the beach (only 15 min from where we live but I’m usually too preoccupied to make it there).

  76. Sarah says...

    Aw, I love that you stood out in the rain to a get a few pictures before seeking cover.

  77. Toby says...

    My heart just melted!! X

  78. Erin says...

    Life has felt so heavy lately as we have some loved ones dealing with very difficult things, plus the pandemic and general state of the world right now. I’m home deep cleaning my house today and my elderly yellow lab, despite his hip problems & arthritis, is sweetly following me around from room to room and that unconditional love in his eyes is filling my heart.

    • Jen says...

      How wonderful your lab Is hanging with you and reminding you that you are loved in the midst of it all. Hang in there!

  79. Alison D says...

    So sweet! Yay Toby! I moved in with my boyfriend March 1 (not knowing that in just 10 days we’d be confined to working from home and pretty much just seeing each other in our small BK apt). Every few days he brings me a big mug of tea while I’m in the middle of class. Distance learning has been really hard on teachers too and I’m always so grateful for the momentary kindness in the middle of tech trouble shooting and missing being with my students in person!

    I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the book Silver Sparrow. What a great read!

  80. Lisa says...

    My husband lost his job in April, two days after we found out we were expecting our first child. It really made us re-evaluate our life, so we packed up our SF apartment and headed back to Boston to be near my husbands family – moving back was the right move and it has been bringing me joy knowing we can make the decision to change our lives in an instant if something doesn’t feel right. My husband losing his job is such a silver lining which I never thought I’d say. (Although I recognize I am very lucky to still have a job and be able to support us during these times).

    • Connie says...

      Lovely comment! You and your husband sound quite resilient and courageous. Congrats on your pregnancy, and I wish you everything good!

  81. Lena says...

    Thank you for sharing. That brought me so much joy to read!

  82. Cara says...

    I’ve been feeling so much joy today because we just got the genetic test results back from an amniocentesis this morning, and they said everything looks normal! We’ve been waiting for this answer for 9 weeks now, ever since our baby was diagnosed with a cystic hygroma at 10 weeks (I’m 19 weeks pregnant now). Cystic hygromas generally mean there’s a high probability that the baby will have chromosomal abnormalities, heart defects, or other difficulties. But miraculously the cystic hygroma has been healed and our baby’s chromosomes look normal. This is our first baby, but my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy ended with a miscarriage, so we were already tentatively hopeful when I found out I was pregnant this time, and then the combination of more concerning news plus a pandemic was a lot to swallow emotionally! But now I feel like we can let ourselves be excited, even though the world is still in turmoil. Sure, there are still the possibilities of parenting breaking our hearts in a hundred different ways, but right now our hearts just feel full that our little baby boy is ok.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, cara, I am so happy for your family! that’s wonderful.

    • Cynthia says...

      I am so happy for you! I know you were on pins and needles!

    • Meredith says...

      This literally gave me goosebumps—I’m sure the past nine weeks have been hell. Congratulations on your upcoming baby boy!

    • OLeary, Amy says...

      That’s such great news Cara!

    • illana says...

      Oh my Gosh, Cara! It brings me so much joy to read about your joy!!

    • Erin says...

      Such great news. Wishing you all the very best of health for you and your baby!

    • Barbara says...

      Oh Cara what great news!

    • TH says...

      Oh fantastic news, your heart must feel so much lighter. All the best with your pregnancy!

  83. Katie says...

    seriously the sweetest thing. My heart!!

  84. Marlot says...

    My little boy put his favourite stuffy-bunny in the fridge this morning. When we asked him why, he replied that he “wanted Bun to feel nice and cool”. He went on to add: “I love Bun when he’s cold and I love him when he’s warm.”

    He has slept with Bun since infancy. So sweet.

    • Jaime says...

      Marlot, that is so sweet! I had a little stuffed bunny that I carried around and slept with when I was little named “Bunbun” :)

    • Julie says...

      Awww, that’s so cute!

  85. Erin says...

    What a sweet story. It’s such a great moment when my kids do something genuinely helpful and thoughtful.

    We get take out for dinner on grocery shopping days. We wanted to support local restaurants, and now that we’re shopping for five people only every ~10 days with the extra social distancing protocols, it’s a long day and such a relief to have an easy dinner. We usually keep to a tight budget and never indulge on dinner out, so it’s a huge treat for the family.

    We pick up a new snack food every grocery day, too, for a piece of pure novelty.

    “The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern

    The podcast “No Stupid Questions”

    A daily 4-mile walk. My loop just keeps getting larger, lol. I NEED to get outside.

    Pulling out our CDs from the ’90’s. I still love the Wallflower’s album, but for some reason my kids HATE it. My husband had a bunch of really random ‘world music’ from his college days pulling long hours in the design studio, and those have been a welcome addition to our new everyone’s-at-home morning routine.

  86. Allyson says...

    Toby, the hero! Right now my quarantine chickens are such a sweet distraction. I got four hens (so I thought) in March. One was in fact a rooster, so I found him a new home, and then on a run to get feed accidentally brought home four more baby chicks. It’s been such a fun project to learn all about chickens as a first time chicken tender (ha ha).

  87. Amanda says...

    A moment of sunshine amidst the rain!
    Love this post!!!!

  88. Jennifer says...

    I use the Happyfeed app to write down 3 things a day I am grateful for. I love it because it forces me to find the good in every day, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Some recurring themes from the past 4 months:
    -Running with a core group of 2-3 friends throughout the lockdown
    -Gardening (I built a fence with a gate this year! So proud of myself!)
    -Socially-distanced group yoga outside in the grass
    -Lots and lots of running and walking with our one-year old Border Collie
    -Having extra time in the morning (no commute!) to read in bed while drinking coffee
    -WFH – especially working while sitting outside on my porch
    -Delicious and healthy home-cooked meals, eaten with my husband while watching British tv shows
    -Being able to once again sit outside at a bar/brewery and drink beer(s)
    -Zoom calls with family and friends all over the country
    There seems to be another frequent theme here…spending time outdoors has been a lifesaver during this crisis and has kept me physically and emotionally healthy. I am so grateful to live in a place that offers lots of green space and trails and to live in a house with a great 3-sided porch.

  89. m says...

    OMG my heart. What a wonderful little human.

  90. Oh this just made my day! How adorable.

  91. caysie says...

    SO cute! My heart burst reading this 😭

    • Tanya Rainey says...

      Me too! I am in tears.

  92. Natasha Sweeney says...

    Oh this is so sweet! What a joy!
    My husband normally travels quite a bit for work but because of the pandemic, he’s been home for every single family dinner since March! It’s been the most special silver lining of this wild, wild time.
    The other night, our just-turned 4 year old said out of the blue: “Daddy, remember you used to have so many flights? And for dinner it was just me and my brother and mommy? And now you have no flights! And for dinner it’s always the four of us! (closes eyes) It makes me so happy.”
    I know this pandemic has been so incredibly hard on all of us, but the silver linings truly are amazing.
    Hoping everyone can find a silver lining today.

  93. Lisa says...

    What a sweet heart!

    While the lockdown has been tough in many respects – my husband and I both WFH with a 2 and a 4 year old running around – I’ve so enjoyed being able to spend more time with my family. It’s great being able to have a cuddle break with my babies during the day, take them to the park, bake with them. Friday we both finished work early and we all got ice cream together. Before that would have required a tube journey and some serious planning, but it’s easier now. I’ve also been able to read more than usual and in last week’s heatwave in the UK, I consumed my body weight in iced coffee

    • Lisa says...

      And one other thing – just before the lockdown, my mom gave me a bunch of dresses that were mine growing up, many of which my grandmother hand smocked. Under normal circumstances I would be too scared for my little girl to wear them, but given she’s inside most of the day – why not? She has LOVED wearing the fancy dresses every day

  94. Bren says...

    Last night I was tucking my 6 year old son in bed and reading him “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and he said “Mom, why is he having such a bad day?!” And I said “Well honey, some days are just hard. Haven’t you ever had a bad day?” And he said “No. Have you?!” and I laughed out loud. Because every day this week has felt like a bad day! (I have 10 month old teething twins that cry all day, for starters! And a 4 year daughter old with lots of….how do I put this lightly…FEELINGS) and I explained how sometimes I have hard days because I love all my kids so much and I hate that I can’t give everyone the attention they deserve. And he said “Oh. Well I think every day is great! We get to go to the pool sometimes. And when it rains, that’s okay, because I love the rain!” I mean this kid is like straight sunshine bottled up in a human, how did I get so lucky?! It was just another reminder that as parents that we might be struggling, but our kids are often so happy!!

    • Kate C. says...

      His response made my eyes water! Love the joy and innocence of kids, they can teach us a lot about what is important.

    • Anne van den Heuvel says...

      This is so, so sweet!

    • Rebekah says...

      So sweet. My four year old has lots of “feelings,” too. Big ones. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a little love!!

    • Emily says...

      I needed this!! My 10-month old is also teething and it has been ROUGH. You sound like such a good mom!

    • Tara Rasmus says...

      Oh man, this is THE BEST.

  95. anonymous says...

    Sweet Toby-I love that. A little boys affection for his mama-it is an antidote to so much…

    My poor sister is going through a really brutal time right now, having just found out her husband of 26 years has been involved with someone else. It’s doubly cruel because we experienced the dissolution of our parents’ marriage as teenagers because our dad had a lengthy affair. I’ve been struggling to be there for her and not kind of collapse into my own rage for her. What’s keeping me afloat is my dearest friend owning my rage and anger for me so I can be sad and be present for my sister while trying to keep my own outrage out of it. My friend has taken up the mantle of my outrage and is helping me laugh and lean into my indignation. Seems like a strange bright spot but it’s keeping me going these days.

    • a.n. says...

      i really like this description of the friendship you have, it seems like such a wonderful, safe partnership <3

  96. Janine says...

    Our second baby boy is due July 24th, and although this pregnancy has been a difficult one, I’m amazed already at how the joy of this child coming into the world is compounded by the excitement and joy of his soon-to-be big brother!

    The love really does multiply.

  97. Joanna Schoff says...

    Joy for me right now:
    Slow mornings
    My garden
    Yoga
    Good music up loud
    Home cooked food

    These are “things” but they are giving me joy.

  98. Kristin says...

    That is SO kind. Last night I was playing a board game with my 5 year old son and I asked what he thought he might want to be when he grows up. He smiled and said, “I want to be just like you – a mom!” My heart!

    • Masha says...

      My little dude always tells me he wants to be a mommy when he grows up so he can be just like me and it completely kills me. I have frequent doubts about how I’m doing as a mom, and those moments are little reassurances.

  99. I am very fortunate to have moved to Vermont in January, where I have a lot of access to the outdoors and a pretty low rate of COVID. Since travel is one of the big loves of my life and I can’t really travel outside the state, I’ve joined our “251 Club” and am slowly exploring every town and city in Vermont. It pushes all the right travel planner buttons and it helping me find some really cool and fun things in this little place!

    • Emily says...

      Have you visited the Champlain Islands yet? High recommend for North & South Hero. Enjoy! Vermont is such a special place.

    • Clare says...

      Yay, I live in Vermont too! Near Middlebury, if you’re ever in the area. The small towns in this state are so precious, and I love that the 251 Club brings them attention and visitors. Which ones have you visited so far? You’re inspiring me to get out on the weekends to visit some new spots!

    • Emily L says...

      Emily – I haven’t been there yet but can’t wait to explore!

      Clare – ooh I love Middlebury, though I haven’t seen since we moved. Actually it’s probably been close to 10 years since I visited! I live in Randolph and have done a bunch in The Central and Upper Valley regions and a smattering in the NEK.

      I’d love a Cup of Jo Vermont group :)

  100. Kate says...

    This joke (best read out loud):
    Q: Why do all the Norwegian ships have barcodes painted on their sides?
    A: So when they get to port, they can scan the navy in!

  101. Ramya says...

    Silver linings? New love (mostly for myself – yay, time and space for introspection!), drinks and books on my rooftop, my friends’ sailboat, walks in the park, the movie Love Birds on Netflix, listening to my son read and this recipe for penne alla vodka which tastes like an angel got its wings: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/fusilli-alla-vodka-basil-parmesan

  102. Nigerian Girl says...

    Toby is so sweet and kind. Gosh.

  103. Jen says...

    Crying… Thank you for sharin that story – so, so beautiful! I am four weeks pregnant and hope for a moment like this one day… Thank you.

  104. Kendra says...

    We have a new puppy, and she does life on puppy time. Yesterday, we spent five minutes watching bees in the garden. She is shorter than the bee balm and cone flower, so she sat under the plants looking up and I watched from above.

  105. Jenn P says...

    I had a friend text me this morning just to say that he was thinking about me, that he missed and loved me and was glad that we got to spend some time together before quarantine. (He’s a high school friend, and we got together with our third friend to see Dave Matthews Band in our hometown in February.) It was a lovely text to receive, somewhat out of the blue.

  106. hannah says...

    Yesterday when my husband and I returned home from our Sunday jog down our country road, we found our daughter cleaning the bathroom on her own, with no direction from us. It was the sweetest gesture and it obviously made her feel good too because she followed it up by making us delicious buckwheat pancakes. Then for the rest of the day she kept asking, “Anything else can I do? Can I help with that or should I stay out of the way?” She’s just twelve, an only child and I know the lockdown has been especially hard on her as we don’t have a great internet connection that allows for zoom and FaceTime. She has been so optimistic and upbeat regardless, finding ways to spend her time modeling clay, pressing flowers, painting watercolors, writing endless letters to her friends and reading about 40 books. She brings me so much joy everyday. DELIGHT.

    • K says...

      Aw she sounds so sweet! Good job Mama. You have probably set a good example. :)

  107. ale norris says...

    oh, toby. that is so sweet!
    our 5 year old has taken to saying “i am SO glad you guys are married” when my husband and i kiss or hug in front of he and his sister, or when we hold hands on walks, etc. it’s very cute, and when we say “we are, too!” he gets the biggest smile.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Omg so sweet!!!

  108. Meg says...

    Gosh what a sweet moment. Your Toby sounds like the loveliest human.

    My husband and I have been sweethearts the very large majority of our lives and have a couple boxes that store hundreds, if not thousands, of love letters between us. Some are short and silly as they were passed between desks in middle school and some are poetic novels written in later years when we were lonely for each other half the globe apart. As part of quarantine we reorganized the garage and uncovered them for the first time in many years. What started as something so mundane turned in to a beautiful trip down memory lane. We’ve been reading a few a day – remembering why we’re in love, and always have been.

    • Ramya says...

      This is so sweet!

    • M says...

      How darling! ❤❤❤

  109. Megan Powell says...

    Wow is he ever big! I remember the pregnancy announcement and all your posts with baby Toby! He looks like a teenager here already!

  110. Megan says...

    TOBY! What a sweetie. This breaks my heart.

  111. Kerry says...

    We are lucky to live in the Pacific NW where we can get out into the woods on the trails and away from everything else. It’s the way the sunlight filters through the leaves, turning them that brilliant, joyful chartreuse green that fills me with happiness. There is a Japanese word for it:

    Komorebi: The interplay between light and leaves when sunlight shines through trees.

    • Clare says...

      I love that! It’s such a beautiful sight, nice to have a word for it :)

    • LL says...

      BIG heart melt 💘💘

  112. Cat says...

    My husband has two girls, 13 and 14. We’re expecting a boy in November. Being a pregnant stepmom of two teenage girls (so many hormones all around!) is sometimes difficult, but last week 13 said to me “I love it when you’re my stepmom” and she says “I love you baby brother” to my belly all the time. Pretty sweet.

  113. Rebecca says...

    I wake up really early to get a jumpstart on my work day. My girls wake up later, and come down into the office basement to say good morning. Before cov-Id our mornings were always so rushed- getting out of the house for work and school. Now they get to pick out whatever they want to wear, eat cereal in front of cartoons, and I always get to drink an entire cup of hot coffee.

  114. SB says...

    While singing a bedtime lullaby to my four year old she loudly sighed and said: “OH MOMMY, you have the most beautiful voice I have ever heard.” I melted into a puddle and told her “You have a beautiful singing voice too. Your voice is like a little song bird.” She paused, thought about this and closed her eyes. A sleepy quiet moment passed and then she thoughtfully said: “I am your song bird so you… you…. you can be my little song squirrel.” Her literal translation sent me in to a contagious fit of giggles. I hope to always think of this pure moment in time when a squirrel scampers by.

    • Melanie says...

      This makes me melt 😍

    • Ramya says...

      Awww so sweet!

    • Lauren says...

      This is so adorable!!! Doubly laughing bec I live in the woods in Maine where sometimes beautiful birds wake me in the morning (google wood thrush song) and sometimes squirrels And chipmunks wake me in morning. Those two songs are VERY different hahahha!

  115. My daughter (who just turned 4!) invented what she calls a “stick hug.” Here’s how to do it: hold your arms out wide, then put your hands on each other’s cheeks and press your foreheads together. Instant joy.

  116. Em says...

    Just finished Just Mercy and immediately made a big donation to the EJI. It will make your blood boil.

  117. M says...

    Last summer, my husband and I got in tiff about my wildflower bouquets. He is a clean freak (usually something I love about him) but towards the end of summer, he became increasingly intolerant of the the pollen and seeds and residue on the counter. He said, “Can’t you just enjoy the flowers outside?” “No, I cannot,” I said. “But the mess!” he griped. “Why? Why? Why?” he asked. Until eventually, I reached a boiling point and screamed irrationally in front of our son and daughter all gathered at the table, where a boquet rests in the middle, ” BECAUSE THEY BRING ME JOY AND SO FEW THINGS BRING ME JOY RIGHT NOW SO PLEASE JUST LET ME KEEP MY FLOWERS!” As soon as I finished, there was a quick awkward lull, and then all of us broke out in laughter in the miraclous way thay sometimes happens after a family fight.

    But the best thing of all? This summer? All of them-my husband, my son, my daughter- all of them!!!- pick me big, beautiful wildflower bouquets from our yard. And that is my silver lining right now,- wildflowers (and their mess) displayed all over the house as a tribute to joy.

    • Linds says...

      I love this.

    • ale norris says...

      i love everything about this!

    • jane says...

      It’s been difficult to connect to joy lately and I think this stands out as one way I can change that: CREATE regular, literal, “tributes to joy”! Thank you for the idea!!

    • Marci says...

      I love that story! It reminds me that sometimes you have to *ask* for what you want (or scream, if needed). Glad your lovely family responded with love.

  118. Amanda G says...

    I am a teacher on summer break and still practicing pretty conservative isolation(I am high risk as is my son).
    My son has been a good distraction to the craziness going on right now.
    Hes 20 months old and quite the personality.
    Every day, he brings all of his trucks to our made bed and plays quietly for an hour or so on the bed, with the trucks. While he plays I focus in on his mannerisms, how he uses his hands and his facial expressions during play. How long he can go before he engages me into the play. I keep the lights off and the ceiling fan is calming.
    50% of the day is filled with tantrums, living room furniture stunts and milk and rice thrown across the kitchen but this time on the bed has been a peacefulness to our days together.

    • Jill says...

      Oh. My. That’s the sweetest thing Amanda. Sounds very special. He’ll be 43 and you’ll remember this time in your life.

  119. Because my kids and I cancelled our trip to Italy (which would have been their first time out of the country,) I decided to surprise them with a day of Italy-at-home. I told them in the morning the supplies I had gathered (some decorations, a checkered tablecloth, and ingredients to make homemade pasta,) and they added their ideas — my daughter found a slideshow with music on YouTube that we played on the tv, and my son put the Italian flags and pictures of Pisa up on the walls. We danced and rolled out dough for the first time to cut for fettuccine, and had a delicious dinner at our checkered table with flowers. I hoped it would be sweet but was blown away at how much fun we were having, and over the last week my son has said how glad he is that we’ve left the decorations up. We’re not typically traveling-people, so what I was looking forward to on the trip was the memories the 3 of us would make together, and our home adventure captured that too — we even took tons of photos!

    • Jenna says...

      Love that you made lemonade out of lemons. We were supposed to go to France for my brother’s wedding and did a similar thing on the day we were supposed to leave. We spent the two weeks we were supposed to be gone, saying today we are going to the Eiffel Tower, today we are taking a boat tour!
      I hope you will get to Italy soon! We went two years and it is well worth the wait. I often have memories of our trip pop into my head that bring me so much joy!

    • Agnès says...

      That’s so inspiring Illana! One day you’re really going to go to Italy and it will be so amazing, all thoses memories intertwined…

  120. K says...

    oh my gosh that sounds like the cutest moment ever. and his outfit too, including the care to put on a flowery mask!

    Seeing people chill on their balconies and rooftops, including a plastic kiddie pool. I swear I haven’t seen so much activity there before in pre-corona eras, I even discovered an old man with an outdoor shower which broke my brain (he’s been below my window across the street for how long?) For a second, I thought I was in Europe, Italy. He was wearing yellow swim shorts and wrestling with the curtain because of the same rainstorm you mention.

  121. Sarah says...

    This made me cry! But in the best way. Thanks for the joy-triggering, beautiful story!

  122. Sarah says...

    My 13-y-o daughter are 1 week away from being able to be in a ‘bubble’ with my Mum/her Nan who has been shielding since Mar 23rd – next Mon we’ll finally be able to see her and hug her. This week has almost been the worst – l think we will both only believe it when we see it. So near yet so far. She has grown and matured so much in this time. Now l see, however hard this is and however hard our life can be, all the work is important and so worth it. She makes me proud every second.

  123. Something that’s bringing me joy right now is to listen to any jokes that my mom, who lives in a different continent, has been told me. She is a good storyteller, and every time she shares a funny story, I will be laughed out loud and feel very happy! Sometimes the story is very random about my dad’s antic, young children in the neighborhood, about her friends, etc!

  124. Ramona says...

    Kindness matters! Toby you are such a gentleman! 💯

  125. I go for walks in my neighborhood when I feel down or just need fresh air. I was listening to music from Spotify when Rick James’ “Give it to me baby” came on and I started the dance. I heard laughter and looked up to see an elderly couple sitting on their patio and dancing with me as well. We acknowledged each other and I popped some of my best dance moves on the sidewalk while they followed suit. It was then I realized that despite COVID and all the unpleasant experiences we have had in the past few months, in the end, we are in this together.

  126. We live overseas and should have been on our visit to the States right now, but instead we are here for a slow summer (my husband and I are both teachers). We just moved into a new house this month and the large porch overlooking the city spreading across the hills is bringing us so much joy. My newly 1 year old loves playing out there and being pushed in her swing, and we hosted playgroup out there this morning for about 5 other mamas and all their babies and toddlers. It’s not the summer we expected, but it’s sweet nonetheless.

  127. jodi says...

    yay!! i love these posts…and such great timing! So needed during this time, pandemics, all the unrest and violence, uncertainty….this comes as a chance for us to have a long, collective exhale!
    podcast..simply luxurious life…randi kay’s podcast…anna purna’s blog
    books..loved Writers and Lovers…
    dinners…salt and lavenders creamy tuscan chicken with cream, spinach, sun dried tomatoes and Ayesha Curry’s baked parmesan chicken tenders…
    joy…mornings and the peace they bring while sitting on the porch, sometimes i play on you tube- Old country trail with birds and cattle sounds …having Georgia peaches delivered to our area..peach crisps, peaches in my yogurt with granola…julesbdavis has a weekly discussion of women from everywhere in her kitchen, live on instagram…she lights a candle, sets an intention and makes a tea , cooks..it’s a guilty pleasure..gathering with like minded women…reading Belle Grace magazine Thank you Cup of Jo…it’s nice to have this respite during these times..so we can regroup and then continue to fight the good fight!

    • Ramya says...

      I’m craving peaches now! Luckily heading to Georgia soon.

  128. I MISS YOU ALL. I just read the book ” A Book of Delights” by Ross Gay. HIGHLY Recommend. I’m calling out tiny delights all day long as a form of survival. MY TOMATO GREW. My dog sighed at the perfect moment after I complained. My 3-year-old neighbour brings her “friend” which is a watermelon on her walks. DELIGHT.

    Life has recently been a shit show. I’ve been pregnant or miscarrying for the past few months. This morning I had a d&c and had the remaining fetal tissue removed. My mom is with me in bed. We are watching Married and First Sight and I showed her how uber eats works. Quarantine more than ever is forcing me to gasp the tiny moments breathe them in wholeheartedly. My mom just asked me if I have the same version of Netflix, yes Mom we do. DELIGHT.

    • This is so gorgeous and whole-hearted. I’m sorry for the heaviness of loss and appreciate you sharing it here.

    • Abbey says...

      Tara, I am sending so much love to you as you heal through the “shit show.”

      But I know you’ll be okay because I am also reading Ross Gay’s “The Book of Delights” and his attitude is totally contagious. It is bringing me immense joy, but like one tiny bite-size delight at a time. Delights are everywhere and this book is really helping me tune back into them, without ignoring the heavy shit too. DELIGHT.

    • anna says...

      you just sound like a wonderful wonderful person.

    • Hannah says...

      I love this, Tara! Much love to you and thanks for sharing your delights and adding fun to my day (I can picture these so well! A watermelon friend! the dog sigh! :D)

  129. Agnès says...

    I went to the cinema last night, for the first time in so many weeks, I was SO excited. And also, everybody else seemed really excited aswell (the man who sells the tickets, the other goers). We’re in Paris, it’s a small indie cinema. Before the movie, we had a drink at a Café and a quiche and salad. Same: everybody seemed so happy around us, the waiter, the other customers, the boss. We missed each other I guess. I am moved by that, every day since the end of quarantine.

  130. Sarah says...

    Yesterday, I was painting some interior doors while my husband played with the triplets (age 2.5). One of them toddled over to watch me paint. After a quiet minute or two, he put his chunky little hand on my shoulder and said, “Good job, Mama, looks great.” It was a really welcome, sweet remark and made my day.

    • M says...

      This is so darling! ❤

    • So sweet! Also good luck with those triplets. I have twins who are thankfully 11 next week but those early years – how did i ever eat or drink anything? It feels like we were constantly on the move!

  131. Elizabeth says...

    What a sweet boy he is! Just think of what friends you will be when he’s 30.

    At this moment, I’m sipping hot coffee and feeling the warmth of my little dog’s chin where it’s resting on top of my feet.

  132. Meghan says...

    The other day we were waiting in a (masked!) line outside of Trader Joe’s when the whole store suddenly erupted in applause. A young employee ran out of the TJ’s at full-speed – “His wife is in labor!” someone said – and we all cheered him on as he booked it to the car. It was such a beautiful, communal moment. It felt like we were all celebrating a new beginning together :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, how beautiful!!!

    • Andrea says...

      Was this by chance in Santa Rosa, CA? An employee recently recounted a similar scenario to me and it brought so much joy even in the re-telling!

  133. G says...

    Last week was my first week working back in our pediatric ER. Shortly before closing time a toddler came in with a cut that needed sutures (stitches.) If your toddler has ever needed stitches you know it can be challenging to keep them calm and still, even if the procedure is relatively simple, pain-free and quick. Sometimes young kids need anti-anxiety meds and extra people to help keep them still to safely sew them up. I gave the parent a head’s up that this might take some time and team work.

    Well after a pleasant chat about his favorite Disney plus shows, this kid FELL ASLEEP as I sutured him shut! He was totally unfazed by the needles, burning medication, and all the weird stuff going on, allowing me to close the cut up nicely and easily and get him and his Dad home well before midnight. Great job kid, great job Dad. Made me smile.

  134. Amy says...

    My nephew, who is 3, now says, “love you!” And he’s speaking in paragraphs, and even after 3 months of not seeing each other in person, seems to understand who I am. This auntie gig is amazing.

    • Rin says...

      That’s lovely, Amy! I’m sure you’re very special to him, even when f he can’t see you right now.

  135. Clare says...

    Nature is pretty much the only thing calming me down lately. I live in the city so I have to get it in little bits, but those little bits are more important than ever now.

  136. shade says...

    A few days ago we bought a car so we could take trips out of the city and get to nature. While the strawberry picking and the hikes have been wonderful escapes, something unexpected came out of this experience: road trip bonding! My 7 yr old, my husband and I laugh and sing along to the beach boys, songs from my teenage days and amazing rufus wainwright melodies. And in those moments I feel such joy during this crazy time.

  137. Rachel says...

    This same rain storm last night! We were picnicking in a secret garden downtown that our friends are lucky enough to have a key to, and watching the sky darken and our weather apps predict heavy rain we packed up all our blankets and food and drinks….and then we just sat there in the park and waited for the downpour! Just beforehand a bunch of fireflies appeared as it was so dark, then we stood in the rain and got absolutely soaked to our skin, grinning from the ridiculousness of the decision to pack up in preparation and then get drenched anyway. Afterwards we dashed around the block to our friends apartment where we toweled off a little, then started heading toward home. On the way we passed a favourite restaurant that had outdoor tables set up, and decided on a whim to sit down (still completely soaked to our skin) and eat dinner. By the time we finished our pasta we were ready for the long bike ride back uptown. A perfect Sunday!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh what a glorious evening!

  138. My son is a member of the high school graduating class of 2020. He is also my last, the baby. These past 3 months I have had to comfort him, as well as myself, against the cancellation of several senior year milestones (prom, etc). After three different canceled graduation dates, last night we watched an amazing virtual screen acapella performance of the school choir. My eyes filled to the rim when the principle broke down in tears as she announced the graduating class. I am sure it was a huge relief for her to reach the finish line of what had to be a very stressful end of the work year. It was truly amazing to witness my son and his friends, walking single file, six feet apart, wearing masks, cross home plate in the field of the Texas Rangers stadium to FINALLY receive their diplomas. His father, sister, and I were a tiny group of three as no other family was allowed. It was interesting to be a part of only 2000 people in a mostly empty 40,000 seat open-air arena. Everyone wore masks and were safely seated away from one another. Because of the attendee limit, the school Livestreamed the event. We had family and friends watching from Florida all across the country to Hawaii. My phone erupted in confetti and balloon emojis when they called out his name. It was everything graduation should be. It was MEMORABLE.

    • b says...

      This made me giddy. I suppose that is because I am 20 years past high school graduation and 15 years past college graduation and have such fond memories of blasting that Vitamin C song and Green Day’s Time of Your Life on repeat as I prepared to graduate high school (Class of 2000 here – Vitamin C was all the darn rage).

    • Sara C. says...

      Vitamin C! That just sent me down a pleasant youtube rabbit hole. I used to LOVE that son.

  139. Hanging laundry on our porch line — we live in Boston so I am surrounded by neighbors, but our street is surprisingly quiet, we have a wind chime, and we’ve got some beautiful trees and it is so peaceful hanging laundry.

    Also, cemeteries — they’re a beautiful space to have some space. While the parks are very crowded (and it concerns me how few people are wearing masks in these public spaces), you’ll rarely encounter anyone in the cemetery. My daughter and I bike there on most days. There’s even a stream and a bridge for us to play Pooh sticks.

    • Mouse says...

      I love cemeteries; when I travelled through Europe for work I always looked for the cemeteries for their silence and greenness.

  140. celeste says...

    That is very sweet. My 10 year old opens the car door for me after getting out of the backseat. I think he learned opening doors for people is good at daycare and it just always stuck with him.
    Morning walks and flowers.
    Iced coffee.
    Husband cooking fish tacos with cilantro from the garden (sorry, “soap”, I know.)
    Hamilton on Disney+ Friday (was never gonna afford it otherwise!)

  141. Sarah says...

    I’m newly pregnant! Only 7 weeks along, but we saw the little heartbeat on Friday. I had a miscarriage in March right as the pandemic was shutting everything down; my husband wasn’t able to accompany me to the surgery to remove the pregnancy and that experience left us both in the dark. The last couple of months have turned our world upside down in so many ways. However, we’re emerging now – brighter times ahead (fingers crossed!).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s wonderful, Sarah! and I’m so sorry for your loss xoxo

    • Sadie says...

      Thinking about you, Mama <3

    • Jen says...

      Sarah – I am only four weeks pregnant but after a loss too…. so happy you got to hear a heartbeat on Friday – such awesome news!! All the best to you!

    • Kim says...

      Hang in there, Sarah. Sending you prayers of health and safety.

    • Jenny says...

      What a dear rainy moment! We worked on a treehouse/zipline project for our 10 year old son about 2 months ago. We hung a hammock and take turns at night laying in it and looking at the sky. After talking about stars we brought out the telescope and marveled at the moon, it was such a special time! We also go on walks each night with our puppy and just love the time together.

    • Melisa says...

      Congratulations Sarah! Seeing that little heartbeat is so special. I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant after a miscarriage in October 2019 (getting pregnant again immediately afterwards was a surprise!) and it’s amazing how different things feel now. Lots of love and positive thoughts for the remainder of your pregnancy xo

  142. Shelley says...

    Okay what a lil sugar butt! (As I call my boy’s whenever they are sweet haha). You know you are parenting right when your kids do things like this.

    • Grace says...

      Lil sugar butt! I adore this.

  143. Elise says...

    My bike was stolen on Friday. I was heartbroken for two days. I loved that bike. I built so many memories, so many rides taken. It represented such freedom. I insured it when I bought it because it’s a race bike. The silver lining in all this? The money I will get back from my insurance company will help cover some egg freezing bills. Freedom continues!

    • S says...

      Love this!! To more freedom!

  144. Emily says...

    If you liked Tayari Jones’s Silver Sparrow, you MUST read her book An American Marriage. It’s the perfect fiction pairing to Just Mercy!

    • Clare says...

      I LOVED An American Marriage! SOOOOOOO good!

  145. Em says...

    Something that’s bringing me joy right now is MUSIC. More than ever, escaping into a gorgeous song feels like refuge. I’ve been getting my money’s worth on my spotify membership for sure. I love walking around the neighborhood listening to new songs spotify recommends, or sitting on a patio chair, closing my eyes, and turning on an old favorite.

    • b says...

      Yes! I’ve discovered Sleeping at Last and rekindled my love for Bright Eyes, Okkervil River, Sigur Ros and many others from high school/college. Instrumental music is my jam these days.

  146. Colleen says...

    He is the sweetest.

  147. StrokeDocinLA says...

    That is so sweet. I’ve been reading your blog for nearly 10y and feel like we have parallel lives. My 2 boys, similar ages to your Toby and Anton, with personalities and quirks, all their own. These moments are ones to cherish and be grateful for. Thank you for sharing your highs and lows through the years- your story has been so meaningful and I feel like I have a friend in NY who’s got wonderful stories to share each day. Virtual hugs from LA.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this makes me so happy. thank you! xoxo

  148. Jessica says...

    This is so darling. Makes my heart swell too.

  149. Kate says...

    Okay, that is basically the sweetest story ever.

    I introduced my 5 YO to the Sound of Music during lockdown. It was one of my favourite childhood movies, and at that point, I needed anything, ANYTHING, that wasn’t Frozen 2.

    This afternoon, she fell asleep in the back of the car to the Sound of Music soundtrack (Her request) and my heart, normally two sizes too small, just swelled with love.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, what a beautiful moment, Kate!

    • Megan says...

      Fun fact… I grew up with the Sound of Music and would listen to the songs almost every day. But I was about 20 when I learned that the movie doesn’t end at the wedding scene!

      Somehow, my parents managed to truncate it every time before the scary Nazi part. I guess that’s a good thing, though.

    • Ramya says...

      I also introduced my boy (almost 7) to The Sound of Music, which I watched literally every day one summer when I was around 8 or 9. He wasn’t as enamored with it as I hoped he’d be, but it was still nice to share with him. I especially enjoyed his puzzled face as I belted out tune after tune alongside!