09 October 2014

The happiest days of our lives

Birthdays are the best.  They are so good that from the day following the birthday no one can blame anyone for thinking about the next birthday.  There are other good days of course.  Holidays are nice. Avurudda is nice.  The birthdays of brothers and sisters are nice.  Christmas is a nice day for those who celebrate it.  The first day of school is nice.  The last day of the school year is nice.  Fridays can also be happy days. 

In general toy-days are better than general holidays.   Gift days are good.  That’s why birthdays are special.  And that’s why there are days which feel like birthdays – when someone gives you something for no reason at all. 

Any day that gives us joy is special.  Any day when we receive more attention than usual is special.   So when we pass toy shops and see big signs saying ‘SALE’ we get excited.  That’s after we understand what ‘sale’ means of course.  It’s the same with Children’s Day.  It’s about children.  Children know that nothing can beat a birthday but if there’s a day dedicated to children and they get to know about it then it is natural to feel special.  A child will think ‘It is about me!’ and smile.  A child cannot be faulted for wondering if there’ll be a gift or some other kind of treat at the end of the day. 

Birthdays come and go.  Some are remembered and some are not.  Some birthdays are extra special because we received a wonderful gift, for example a toy that we always wanted.  Some are extra special because all our favorite cousins and friends came to the party. 

It’s the same with Avurudu or Christmas or first days at school.  Some are extra special. Indeed there are ‘non-special days’ that are sometimes amazing; like the day we first fly a kite or made a vesak kooduwa all by ourselves.


So, with time, some memories fade while others do not.  And as time goes by we forget the gifts we received.   What do we remember?  What do we remember of our childhood, of being a child in a sometimes gifting and most times un-gifted world? 

If we flip the story we might be able to understand a little better.  We can think about the gifts we’ve given and ask ourselves who remembered what and why.  We can ask ourselves why someone finds us special and we can ask ourselves whether or not it is because one day we gave a particular kind of birthday gift. 

Then we might suddenly figure out that the best days were not necessarily gift-days.  We might think that the day our father returned home from hospital or our mother came home after being away on some work was really nice. We might remember how when we cried our eyes out for whatever reason, the friend next door came and dragged us away to pluck mangoes and think ‘that was a nice day – he was so sweet to me’. 

Gifts are lovely things.  They make us happy, make us smile.  We love those who give gifts.  All this is good.  It is good to be happy.  Good to smile. 

But what are the greatest gifts, what are our best days? 

There was once a girl who had a beautiful voice.  She suffered from a learning disability. She found it hard to keep up with the rest of the class.  She didn’t understand what the teacher was saying. She couldn’t do her homework.  Most of her teachers knew this but a new teacher didn’t.  She made a mistake and was punished. She was sent out of her class. 

That day, for some reason, her father (who had quit his job to take care of this very special child of his) had come to school.  He had gone towards her class. He saw his precious little darling outside the class.  The girl, upon seeing her father, ran to him sobbing her heart out. 

He was there to hold her.   We don’t know if that little girl has ever thought about gifts and special days.  But maybe, just maybe, the fact that her father happened to be there on that day at that moment so she could drench her tears on his shirt made a world of difference to her. 


Happy Children’s Day!   
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