Certain things are conducive to sanity: cool weather after a hot summer, and warm weather after a cold winter. I've long thought there ought to be a special name for the day in April when you can finally take the kids to the playground, and they run for five hours and don't complain and don't want to come home for supper. It's the day when you chat with other moms who have suddenly emerged from the gray nowhere of winter, and you think This mothering thing isn't impossible, after all! That's a good day.
There is a similar day in the almost-fall, when the temperature whispers "Take a long walk!" and the breezes blow and you wear a jacket again. And yet it's not bad to stay at home, either, because for once it's comfortable in the house, and the mountain of things to do feels a little more do-able, and so you do some things and check them off your list. That's a good day, too.
There are many good days in life. On the days that aren't great, there are still good things to focus on, and appreciate, and be thankful for. But you have to build the reflective time into your day, or it won't happen.
At bedtime, I ask Little Guy to say his I'm sorry's and Thank you's. My six year old is not naturally given to introspection -- most kids that age aren't, yet -- and it's my job to plant the seeds of attentiveness to his day, to his actions, to his heart. Doing it as part of an end-of-day routine makes it (mostly) possible that eventually he will develop a habit of reflection. I hope. Because it's a lot easier to find contentment in life if you pay equal attention to thankfulness and regret.