April Fool! How a Prank Can Make You Happy.

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My happiness-project resolutions include “Cultivate rituals and traditions,” “Spread family cheer,” “Take time for projects,” and Be a treasure house of happy memories.

This cluster of resolutions runs together – meaning that doing a single action means I can give myself a gold star in several boxes (and yes I love those gold stars).

Last year, I decided to start doing holiday breakfasts, so these days I decorate the breakfast table for each holiday. This is easy, fun, and festive. I also decided to start playing April Fool’s pranks.

Yesterday morning, I combined the two. Before I went to bed the night before, I dyed the milk bright green — in an opaque container. In the morning, when my two daughters were at the table, I got a big gasp when I poured the milk out onto their bowls of Special K. Much excitement. Then the green milk dyed their teeth and tongues green, another source of hilarity.

The happiness pay-off was huge. Both girls got a big kick out of it; they were very excited to tell my husband about it when he came into the kitchen; they were very excited to tell their friends that I had played a real joke on them. The morning felt special and fun.

I took a picture, so we can remember this morning for a long time.

This April Fool’s joke took me about ten seconds to pull off, but I had to decide to do it. Sometimes, even doing the smallest extra thing seems impossible, but it’s worth the effort. I constantly have to remind myself of the Third Splendid Truth: The days are long, but the years are short. I’m always happy when I take the time to observe a tradition, do a family project, spread a little cheer, take a photo.

Last year, I froze my daughters’ bowls of cereal — this year, food dye. Now I am officially out of kid-appropriate pranks. Any ideas? Please post!

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