Written October 14, 2013.
Some days, my cup is half empty. All I see are messes, everything grates on my nerves, and I just wish it was bedtime.
It’s those times when I wistfully remember the simplicity of life before kids and daydream about that far off future when we have the freedom of being empty nesters, of days when kids aren’t constantly pulling on my arm yelling “Mom!”.
But the truth is, happiness isn’t when a long off “finally” day arrives. Happiness doesn’t come when everything is finally perfect, because perfect doesn’t exist.
Happiness is the million little things that happen every single day. This is happiness for me, last Sunday:
-Waking up to a window view of sun shining on orange leaves fluttering in the wind.
-Happiness is kids that dress themselves without being asked a second time.
-A hug and an “I love you, Mom” after helping my four-year-old with his shoes.
-Getting ready to yell at him for messing around on the way out the door, but stopping in my tracks when he says, “I’m looking for my little Bible book.”
-Happiness is hearing your two-year-old chatting on and on with the ladies at church about her sparkly red shoes and plans to be Elmo for Halloween.
-Happiness is starving after a long morning at church, and heading to Grandma’s house where brunch is all ready and waiting when we arrive.
-Happiness is bacon.
-Happiness is a warm cup of tea and a few handfuls peanut M&Ms.
-Happiness is laying down on a soft bed with a tired toddler who needs a nap. Happiness is taking a Sunday nap of my own, too.
-Happiness is a little boy who rediscovered his special collection of linked key chains that had been lost at grandma’s for a week.
-Happiness is when he figures out how to hook a key chain to his belt loop, and repeatedly tells me the rest of the day, “Look, Mom, I haven’t lost my chains because I hooked it on!”
-Happiness is getting out of the house for a walk to the city park with my family.
-Happiness is my little boy pedaling his trike through dry leaves on the way.
-Happiness is the sound of crunching leaves that remind me of Coach Arnold and the cross country season back in high school.
-Happiness running into a group of boys at the park that seemed like they came right out of Mayberry: holding nets and pails, wading in the creek to catch crayfish.
-Happiness is hearing the boys describe how they will use the crayfish as bait for trapping season later on.
-Happiness is seeing kids that know how to play outside in a creek.
-Happiness is remembering catching a crayfish as a kid with my brother Mike down at Black Bill’s cabin on the North Branch of the Whitewater River.
-Happiness is hearing about childhood crayfish boils from my Tennessee-born sister-in-law.
And, happiness is…
-Cousins making a train while sliding down the slide.
-Two six-year-old cousins making a secret world under the lilac bush at the park.
-A two-year-old yelling “Hi!” under the highway bridge walking home from the park, and then saying “it echoes.”
-An afternoon of blue sky, sunshine, and crisp fall air.
-The rustling sound wind blowing through the dry leaves of a corn field.
-Watching my adult brother ride a little girl’s bike to the park because that’s what’s in Grandma’s garage, and why not.
-Watching my husband take a turn on the little girl’s bike on the ride back from the park.
-Watching cool kids stare in disbelief and teenage disgust at the man riding a girl’s bike.
-A mountain of mini pumpkin gourds shared from my sister’s garden.
-Laughter from hearing another sister ate one of the gourds last year.
-Happiness is eating chicken and gravy and cream puff dessert made by my mom.
-Two-year-old and three-year-old cousins having a discussion at suppertime. “I’m three.” “You too little to ride bus.”
-Happiness is seeing my younger brother rediscover his long-lost RC airplane.
-Happiness is reading a book, and then hearing “read it again, Mom.”
-Seeing my 2nd grader absorbed in the Fleet Farm Toyland catalog. And happiness is being grown up enough to resist the urge to snatch the catalog and look at it myself.
-Happiness is remembering the smell of ink and paper of the Sears Christmas catalogs as a kid.
-My seven-year-old daughter’s giggle of delight at bedtime realizing the upcoming week of school is just three days long.
-My two-year-old girl’s delight at catching a lady bug and watching it crawl across her hand (even though she wasn’t brushing her teeth like I asked).
-Happiness is that same little girl darting across the hallway to yell “Mom, we need more ‘washcoffs’ ” while standing with no clothes on and holding a glass vase with a lady bug inside.
-Happiness is my six-year-old son at bedtime saying “I just can’t ever hug you enough, Mom.”
-Happiness is stumbling across family videos after the kids went to bed.
-Happiness is watching those videos and feeling thankful that we no longer have melted carpet from a curious toddler with an iron.