“Good Morning!”

“Laura had never noticed before that saying ‘Good morning’ made the morning good.”

More than any other book in the Little House series — with the exception of maybe The Long Winter — if I pick up These Happy Golden Years to consult for one reason or another, it’s difficult for me to put it down and not immerse myself in the story immediately. I think it’s because the book is so plot-driven, particularly in the beginning. Dismal shanty life, cold schoolhouses, hesitant children, homesickness. I read and read through the gray haze of melancholy, waiting, waiting, knowing Almanzo will–there he is!–arrive and save the day.

Best of all are the pages that follow, Laura’s first weekend home. Ma’s good dinner, Pa’s fiddle, family laughter, even “her sleep was deep and good.” When I’ve thought about which meal I’d want to share with the Ingalls family, this Saturday breakfast is always at the top of the list. Such warmth and cheer! Such happiness!

Every morning when my kids first wake up, whether I’m teasing them awake in their beds or they’re groggily shuffling up to me as I cook breakfast, my first words to them are always “Good morning!” I want my kids to be able to greet each day with enthusiasm and joy, and long ago Laura taught me the best way to do that.

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