On Happiness

One of the things that I didn’t anticipate about motherhood is the overwhelming desire I have for my daughter to be happy.

As I’ve mentioned before, happy isn’t one of my core values.

It isn’t part of my mama-mantra, the words that I speak over my daughter a thousand times, whispering in her ears, willing her heart to believe.

But the truth is that I want so badly for her days to be filled with happy thoughts, happy interactions, happy memories, happy dreams.

Of course, you say, every parent wants their kids to be happy.

This, I guess, is true.

But my baby has somehow managed to live both too much and not enough in her short years.  She has reasons (dare I say, more reasons than most) that happy isn’t a given.

I hold her as she names them all.  Every single one.  I hold her as she feels them all.  Again and again.

I consciously slow my breathing and will myself to be present with her in this moment, but the truth is that this speaking, this feeling, rips my mama-heart into painful little shards.  I am wrecked and I wish so desperately that I could make them my reasons, not hers.  I would do anything, anything to take them all away from her.

The sun comes up.  I tiptoe into her room and she is making tiny sleepy noises like the infant that I never knew.  She reaches out, before she even opens her eyes, making sure that I am there.

And she smiles.

Today the twinkling white lights on our tree will make her happy.  Eating 21 tortilla chips will make her happy.  Stomping in the snow will make her happy.  Finishing a chapter book all by herself will make her happy.  Snuggling and hearing my mama-mantra whispered in her ear for the thousand and first time will make her happy.

And I know that we will be ok.

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