Back for my second post for Momalom and their Five for 10 challenge. Today's topic is Happiness.
Happiness is simple, when you're a child.
Powder-blue cotton candy.
A new toy.
The box a new toy came in.
Star Wars pajamas.
Ice cream. For dinner.
Whooshing down a slide.
Splashing at the water's edge and shrieking when the wave breaks.
Hot chocolate. With three handfuls of marshmallows.
Running. Skipping. A hula hoop.
When did we lose this? When did happiness come with conditions?
I will be happy when I graduate high school and get away from these people and this small town.
I will be happy if I move to this dorm, major in this instead of that.
I will be happy when I have a boyfriend.
I will be happy when I lose the weight.
I will be happy with this job, that job, when I move here, when I leave there.
I will be happy when I'm engaged. Married. Have kids.
The problem with all this is, of course, failing to live in the moment. When was I truly happy? Tough to say. I was too busy thinking it was just around the corner. If. When. I didn't take the time to just be and appreciate where I was in the now.
Because happiness? It's right here. If you take the time to see it.
My third child has taught me this. He is my last, and there is enough space between he and his next older sibling that I can actually spend uninterrupted time getting to know him and his joy. And my own. He has made me savor.
I consciously slow down. I inhale the warm, toasty scent of his head. I blow raspberries on his squishy tummy and we both crack up. He climbs into the sandbox on the back patio and I sit in a chair, close my eyes and feel the sun heat my face. I breathe.
I roll as he escapes the bath and runs, chubby legs churning, naked and dripping and screaming with laughter as my husband chases him down the hall.
Watching my toddler has also made me appreciate my older two kids more. The way my first son's face lights up when he sees me waiting for him outside his classroom door. How my daughter shouts, "Watch, Mommy, watch!" as she wiggles like a hula girl, jumps in the pool, pedals her bike without training wheels.
Rejoicing in their victories: their first steps, first soccer goal, first time they read a sentence.
And yet, I know my own happiness can't be derived solely from my kids.
I've always been a glass half-empty, lemons-instead-of-lemonade type of girl. I fight that. I look for my happy.
I've found it, more and more. Happiness isn't always about explosions of unicorns and rainbows. It's there when I'm doing a good hard run on a beautiful day. Watching the ocean. Finding my husband has cleaned the kitchen - even wiping the counters - while I was out. Writing a well-turned phrase.
Riding with the top down.
Giving into it.
How do you find your happy?
Into the afterglow - [image: Into the afterglow] Drive to the night, far as it goes, away from the daylight...
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