I realize this list is not universal, but more of an account of the important things of late. I'm sure you have your own list.
1. Date night with twelve year old son. Forget what you think or how that sounds, the important point was in the crazy busyness of it all we found time to just hang out together, just the two of us which is rare. We dropped the girls off who knows where, I can't remember, and went to dinner. Next, the mall (gag). We shopped and purchased earrings for the girlfriend he would break up with one week later and then looked for clothes for him, a new and unchartered territory. Until now he's been mostly uninvolved with clothes shopping so this was a whole new experience. He looked out of place, awkward, and I did my best to remain cool and not make things worse. And as most date nights do, this one ended at REI, providing the necessary detox from the cologne at a.f. but I'm not naming names. The wild man needed to cut loose and I was happy to oblige.
daughter 2: "Mom, you know when I get all mad and frustrated and just want to scream and go crazy and go AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!" (makes crazy googly eyes and claws/roars like bear)
d2: "Well I figured out that if I just go sit down at the piano when I feel like that I start to feel like, aaaaagggggghhhhhh" (makes sighing noise, hands float out to sides like waves of water, looks like she's going to fall asleep)
me: "That's great, honey."
d2: "Yeah, playing music really makes me feel better."
me: "I think you are an artist. (a wide grin spreads open across her face) Did you know that's what artists do to express emotion, to help deal with their feelings? Sometimes it's painting or writing or drawing, singing, playing the violin, guitar or piano, whatever. It feels a lot better and more manageable than going to your room and freaking out and slamming doors, doesn't it?"
d2: "Yeah, a LOT better."
...and I realize that warm feeling in my chest is the release of the conversation I've been waiting to have for forty-two years...
3. Sitting together. Showing my youngest daughter how to play "Silent Night" on her guitar while I play it on mine.
me: "Here, just play the A chord and A7 where it says (pointing to music). Look, it's three easy fingers and for A7 you just pick one up. You can do it."
d3: "NO! A is too hard! All I can play is A7!"
me: "Okay, then just play A7 where it says but that's not much, I really think you can play A too."
d3: "NO I CAN'T!" (forehead to carpet)
We play the song, we sing, she strums A7 on every beat the whole way through, paying no attention to the music or how it's supposed to sound but it doesn't matter becuase she wants to strum, to hear herself, to pretend. My part is to let her, to encourage, to sit together.