Like my friend Jen, who, while we were watching our kids at soccer class and I complained that I had toothpaste in my hair, said “oh, good for you, you brushed your teeth!” I’m making an effort to see the sunny side of life wherever I can.

Having recently posted a list of parenting pet peeves, in the interest of balance and harmony, I thought I should post a list of parenting highlights: those moments where someone or something makes my day as a parent a little bit brighter. Here are my top five parenting highlights for this week:

Super park mom (SPM): What new mother (or experienced mother, for that matter) hasn’t found herself at the park or other public area with diapers and no wipes, or wipes and no diapers, or a size one diaper to accommodate her two-year old, thirty pound child? In this situation, the diaper bags appear, supplies go flying, and SPMs can’t share fast enough.

Super park dad (SPD): The SPD is the one playing some kind of complex, dizzyingly athletic, giggle inducing game with his own kids, and is more than happy to include your kids, and every other kid on the playground, while you sit and watch, and gratefully drink your coffee. SPD sightings are rare during the week and so all the more wonderful when they do appear.

Sympathetic stranger (SS): This is the person in the supermarket, on the street, in a restaurant, or even on an airplane (the SS on an airplane is especially, well, special) who offers you kind words or at least a comforting smile while your child is having a meltdown of titanic proportions in a public place. Many strangers mutter and run for cover, and I don’t blame them; but the SS lets you know that you are not alone.

Coffee shops and restaurants that thoughtfully provide a basket of toys in the corner: Chances are your kids will have no interest in the carefully packaged art supplies and other well-planned distractions you brought from home; but the battery-less Tickle-Me-Elmo missing most of his fur that they discover in the corner of a restaurant may capture their attention for at least long enough to get your order in.

Finding a dinner that the whole family can get on board with that doesn’t involve waffles: This one may not apply quite as widely to the rest of you, but I’m really excited about it. It’s taken four years to find a meal that all four family members sit down to with actual enthusiasm. The secret? Shhhh…say it quietly, don’t let my kids hear you… is tacos.

Who or what is brightening your week?