Earlier today, I was thinking about writing a post for a blog promotion about what we do to make our family happy. I missed the deadline for the post, but as I rifled through the scattered mess I call my brain these days (the baby’s teething and up all night and my two-year old has learned how to escape from her crib and is thus opting out of naptime at the moment), I suddenly realized that my whole life seems to be about making somebody other than myself happy. Every moment of every day I am doing something to make my husband happy, to make my kids happy, to make my teachers happy….. to make the whole world happy, but it’s difficult to find examples of the things I do to make myself happy – and yet I am happy.
Sound familiar anybody?
Ask any mommy what the best part of her life is, and almost 100% of the time she’ll say her children (unless you happen to catch her scraping peanut butter off of the ceiling or cutting gum out of a two-year old’s hair). But let’s be brutally honest here, raising children isn’t always the most pleasant of jobs. My days tend to get lost in a blur of smelly diapers, dirty laundry, temper tantrums, toilet training, and have you ever tried to get dried banana off the kitchen floor – that stuff is like freaking cement! So how is it that I can spend my days performing tasks for other people that are most definitely unappealing, and yet I can’t wait to get up and do it again?
Maybe it’s because I don’t actually have a choice. Even if I did manage to sneak out of the house unnoticed, change my name, and take up residence in a Swedish Spa somewhere (as I often imagine during my darkest moments), I’m sure that my children would find a way to track me down, smuggle me into a nondescript van, and vomit in my lap on the way back home. But maybe, just maybe, it’s because the small joyful moments in my day more than make up for the huge quantities of unpleasant ones.
Like the first day my daughter learned how to climb out of her crib – and rather than sitting down and screaming for breakfast as she usually does for my morning wake-up call – she snuck out of her bed, climbed into mine, and kissed me gently on the lips to say “good morning.” Or the time that I was in a playhouse with my son and he asked to take his socks off for awhile. I told him to put his socks into a ball and stick them in the diaper bag so we wouldn’t forget to bring them home with us. The next thing I knew, he had found a Whipple ball from somewhere, stuck his socks inside of it, and stashed the whole mess on top of the diaper wipes.
What I’m slowly realizing, is that it doesn’t take huge declarations of love to make a mommy happy. We find our joy in a baby’s laugh, in a toddler’s shy display of affection, and in the hundreds of small moments that make up our days, and our lives. So as I breathe a sigh of relief and tuck the last of my children into bed tonight, I know I won’t be surprised to realize that I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow.