For those who may not know…I am an avid fan of The West Wing. I know it’s been off the air for years however I own the collector’s box set and of course, it’s right on my Netflix whenever I want to visit President Bartlett, Leo, Josh, Toby and all the rest of that cast I found so outstanding. My daughter is actually named after the First Lady on the show…a fact that I think she finds cute now but may find embarrassing as she gets older. I know the dialogue, I have my favorite episodes, and if I am having a tough day, I may just put it on for background noise as I take care of other things in the house. It’s my go to show- the writing, the acting, the storylines…for me it’s the perfect piece of television.
As such, every so often, one of the lines of dialogue resonates with me- different lines at different points and moments in my life. I heard one the other day that truly made me stop and think for a while. The more I thought about it, the more important of a message it seemed to be…and so, as is often the case, I ruminated, and jotted notes and brainstormed, until I formulated exactly what I wanted to say about this quote…
The only thing you ever have to do to make me happy is come home at the end of the day.
Not a political type of statement at all, from a show whose focus was mainly politics. And yet, it might be one of the most touching pieces of dialogue over the course of 7 seasons. The line, uttered by President Bartlett to his daughter Ellie, who feels as if she let him down, is delivered in the sweetest of ways, he and his daughter are sitting, watching a movie and he casually says it. Her eyes fill up, his eyes fill up and for a moment, he’s not the President (at least on TV) at all, but just a father thankful for his little girl.
How many of us, parents, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, even friends, take the time to express this type of simple emotion to those we love the most? Sadly, when I reflect on it, I do not think I do it often enough. I come home and it’s homework, dinner, dance, bath, story, song, bed. I talk, sure and I listen- I know I listen, but do I express that what really matters to me is that my daughter is home with me at the end of every day? Do I express that to others I care about- that in essence their presence in my life is all that truly matters and what makes me happy. Do you?
At Saint Dominic Academy we, as educators expect a great deal from our students. I know that you, as parents expect a great deal from your daughters as well. Those expectations are high, as they should be and each and every day, the young ladies rise up to meet and even exceed them. However, at the end of the day, whether our daughters, our sons, our loved ones are 7, 17, or even 70, what they really need to hear is that it is their presence in our lives, not their achievements that make us happy.
So, for this week, I encourage you…show the people in your life who make your eyes light up and your days joyful just how happy you are to see them at the end of each and every day. Put aside the grades, the paperwork, the bills, and anything else that needs to be done and welcome your loved ones home at the end of the day with open arms, free of the weight of the daily stressors of the world. Let’s show our children, our families that all we truly need to be happy is their presence in our lives.