I'm hoping you're hearing Lou Reed sing the title. I started writing a matter-of-fact update post and then today happened and it got me thinking about the meaning of happiness, so thought I'd write about that instead. And what happened today? Nothing much, except that it was a very nice day, a kind of day that was just good from beginning to end, without nothing spectacular happening, or perhaps that's exactly what was great about it- it was great in its simplicity.
I tend to reflect a lot about life and my attitude. I was depressed a lot when I was younger, I also suffered from anxiety. And then one day while I was at work deep in a cloud of wallowing despair, totally out of the blue and clear as a bell I heard a voice right in my ear - "it doesn't have to be this way. You can choose happiness". It was so clear, and it always stayed with me. I am not a slave to my mental state, I can choose how I feel. So simple, yet so profound. And now- one could say that my life is challenging. We have four children, we had them young before we got "established", as the result we are still making our way in the world, money is very tight, we rent an apartment, dream of a house- and one of our children is significantly disabled. For some, not even all of those factors are a recipe for self-pity. So why then am I a happy person? I make a point to often reflect on the many ways I am so lucky- I am safe, I am healthy, I am loved, I am needed- I have more than I need to survive and thrive, as do my children, and I live in a peaceful country full of opportunity. How can I complain when so many other mothers around the world don't have any of those things?
So, back to today. Here is a play-by-play of what is a great day, for me. Perhaps your great day would be different.
The night was far from ideal. My husband is camping with the older two (they're having their own great weekend) and it took me a while to settle the babies in the evening. I went to bed way too late and as soon as I fell asleep Sophie waddled over to my bed in a chatty mood. Felix is still up nursing couple times a night and before I knew it, it was morning. But what was different about this morning- it was sunny! The early sun glistened in my windows and I found getting up much easier than on those grey days which were a constant for the past few months (or forever, how it felt to me).
I started the morning routine with the second factor of a great day in my mind- we had fun morning plans. There is something exciting about being dressed, fed and out the door at a decent time on Saturday morning, as opposed to sitting around in our pjs and listening to Thomas droning on till lunchtime. We were going out! An indoor playground opened up in our neighbourhood that I was long looking forward to checking out and never had a chance- when I saw they weren't booked for a party this morning, I took it as a sign.
The outing was great, the kiddies both had an awesome time- third factor of my happiness. Seeing my kids happy and engaged in a fun activity, Sophie especially. It was really apparent to me how much progress she's been making. The fact that she walked from the car holding my hand, without having any idea where we were going. How she just went into the place and dove right into playing, climbing the equipment, smiling- just like any kid. And the fact that she didn't really do any repetitive activity (some pacing maybe but nowhere near as much as she used to). Her play is becoming more spontaneous and exploratory.
|Is that a happy face or what.|
When it was time to go, I dressed them and again we walked back to the car... Not too long ago I'd have to carry them both. I wondered if I'd ever be able to have her walk alongside me holding my hand, following along. Even in the summer it felt like it was a long way off- and now it's here.
Since we had a busy morning they were both tired and went for nap at the same time and I could do some housework- fourth factor of a great day for me (I know, sounds weird). I am not the kind of person that can be ok with a messy place. After having four children, I loosened up somewhat, but my comfort level for mess is still quite low. If my place is messy, I am irritable, depressed, unmotivated. If I bring it up to standard i feel refreshed, calm, at peace. It's a critical element of my happiness.
When the babies woke up and the place was clean, I had energy again. The sunshine was beckoning us outside. Walks are a simple pick-me-up for us. I purposefully didn't buy coffee on our morning outing, knowing that being out of coffee would be a strong motivator for me to get out of the house later. It worked. We packed up and went.
The walk was lovely, babies happy, I picked up some (gluten free) cookies for them. We got home and I guiltlessly let them veg out in front of their devices while I made dinner (rice with pasta sauce and ground turkey- their favourite). I bathed them and even the dog too. Then I sat on the floor in the living room and fed two tired, happy kids out of the same bowl- factor number six. Getting good food into their tummies without a fight. Then we hung around together, played, relaxed until it was bedtime. It warms my heart too seeing their bond develop. Wordlessly, Sophie shows genuine care for her brother. And he, well he is just happy to be included.
So simple and mundane. A day in the life of a mom and her two small kids. But it was a very good day and I want to remember it, especially on those other days that are bound to come, with messes and tantrums and set-backs and being overwhelmed and feeling discouraged. A lot of people write about those days, I guess those days bring strong feelings. But I wanted to throw my good day out there to show that it doesn't have to be extraordinary to be wonderful. And that there is a peaceful beauty in the commonplace as well.