And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

Well, let’s have a moment of honesty here, as well as the moment of happiness. Lately, all through the month of November and into December, I’ve really struggled coming up with the Moment. I mean, really struggled. There has been so much big, Big, BIG BAD stuff going on in the world. And in my country. And in my state. And in my home and my community.

I went right from dealing with Michael’s sudden toe amputation to the Waukesha holiday parade disaster to a condo building in Waukesha behaving like the one in Florida and being suddenly declared uninhabitable and displacing so many people at Christmastime to a 14-year old boy car-jacking an 87-year old’s car as she dropped off books at our public library. He sexually assaulted her.

He’s 14. She’s 87. Here. In my city.

Lately, there’s been so much ugly. Just so much. Several times a day, I am finding myself saying, “I just don’t understand.” And I don’t.

I’ve been fighting a bout of insomnia, and today, that morphed into what seems to be a case of the stomach flu. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t all a reaction to the things going on around me. Big bad things. There are times I feel like I can’t breathe. And I just don’t understand.

And so I thought back to the beginning of this blog. For the first year, I wrote a Moment every single day. But because I wrote it every day, I learned that while there may be big, Big, BIG BAD things happening, we have to look for the little moments of happiness. If we watch only for the big ones, rainbows, unicorns, you know the drill, well, we’ll likely be disappointed. And then beaten down by the big, Big, BIG BAD things.

So here is something that happened.

I am an Animal Crossing nut. I started playing the video game years ago, when it was on one system or another, and I have always loved it. It’s pretty much the only game I play. My family also plays, and we have a Facebook group where we have our Animal Crossing discussions. One of the members of the group is Rayne, a young woman who is my middle son Andy’s best friend, and who has been a part of my family since they were in high school. I think of Rayne as my daughter-by-proxy. Playing this game is a lot like writing a story or a book, which probably explains why I love it so.

When this pandemic first started, and I was having trouble dealing with it (big, Big, BIG Bad stuff), Rayne told me I needed to start playing Animal Crossing again, the new version, on the Nintendo Switch. My son immediately chimed in and said he would get the system for me. And so, I’ve been playing. It has helped enormously. Most of our group is in Wisconsin, but my oldest daughter is in Louisiana and Rayne is in Oregon. But we all connect on Animal Crossing.

The Nintendo Switch can be played on your television, or you can carry it along with you.

One day, Rayne was taking the train to work, and when she got there, she realized her Switch was no longer in her bag. It was gone. Her island was gone. All her characters were gone.

Of course, we all thought the worst. Either someone reached in her bag on the crowded train and took it, or it fell out and the person who found it kept it.

Within a few minutes, I was asking my son about how hard it would be to find a new Switch for Rayne this Christmas season. “I’m already on it,” he said.

“I’ll pay for it,” I said.

“I’ll go half with you,” he said.

I am a kind person. I have raised a kind son. All of my children are kind. Even the one by proxy, who thought of me at the beginning of the pandemic. Who drove three hours to see me on my birthday last summer, when I was on the Oregon coast.

The new Switch was found and ordered.

And then…and then…

Rayne burst onto our Facebook Group with a photo of her holding the Switch. “It was in the TriMet Lost And Found! I’m picking it up after work!”

Someone found it and turned it in. They didn’t keep it for themselves. They returned it.

Whoever that person is, I wish I could find you and thank you personally. At a time when I was beginning to wonder if there was any good left in anyone, when I was saying, “I don’t understand,” several times a day, when we’re all seeing horrific things happening here, there, and everywhere, here was someone who did the right thing. A small thing. But the right thing, and a right thing that made a difference.

The right thing. And you can tell it’s the right thing by the smile that’s going on under that mask in the photo.

As for the new Switch that my son and I bought, we’re giving it to my husband Michael, so he can have his very own island under his very own control, instead of sharing mine with me. I can be a little bossy.

Oh, stranger who returned the Switch, thank you. Your small gesture made a big, Big, BIG difference.

Now I’m going back to bed. Someone send chicken soup, please.  I have the !@#$% stomach flu (not a big, Big, BIG BAD thing, but yuk!) but I really wanted to have the Moment out there.

Hope for better tomorrows. Look for small good things.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

Just like in real life! My little character loves going to the coffee shop for a cuppa created by the great Brewster.
Me and Rayne, out for lunch on my birthday last summer in Oregon.
The photo Rayne sent when she was reunited with her Switch!


Leave a Reply