You can say that again—and maybe next time I’ll understand you


A few weeks ago Daniel started saying something, and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

He didn’t articulate it clearly, but he said it with absolute satisfaction. And, it came up often enough that I knew it was something very specific—and he assumed we understood.

“Look, guys! A fire engine!” I’d say as we were driving to school.

And Daniel would say it.

“Did anyone see those birds flying over us?” I’d say. “I think they were geese.”

He’d say it again.

At home, I’d offer to pour strawberry yogurt on his dry cereal—his new favorite breakfast—and he’d say the same thing.

I was a bit confused. But I don’t like to ask him to repeat himself. He is so frustrated when he’s not understood. So I smiled and let it go.

Then Christmas came, and Daniel was opening his presents.

“For me?” he would ask sweetly before opening each one. Then he would tear off the wrapping paper. He would beam and say that same phrase.

It sounded like “Juss-uh-I-yike.”

And finally, finally, finally, it clicked.

In a rush of happiness and certainty that we would share in his joy, he was saying, “Just what I like!”

Since then, every time I hear him say it, it makes my heart melt. I find it so humbling that he can find happiness in so many ordinary moments throughout the day. And it made me think about how I talk to God.

So often I am giving Him a list of my hopes and fears for the future, my concern for family and friends with such tremendous needs, and my requests that He give me patience and strength and a way to accomplish more in less time.

But our lives are so full. John and I—and our sons—are so blessed. And I should strive to encounter joy as easily as our 3-year-old. Whether it’s a garbage truck, a flock of honking geese, or a nutritious, delicious meal, experiencing these ordinary, seemingly insignificant moments is what makes life such a treasure.

And so today, and every day, I will try to remember to tell God that this life may be hectic and even a bit stressful at times, but it is also perfectly wonderful.

Daniel’s right.

It is, after all, just what I like.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.