Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happiness is Enjoying a Flat Tire

I am proud, NO - that is not a strong enough word - I am ELATED over the effectiveness of my “Happiness is” project. I was recently rushing around running errands after a hectic Monday at the office. My husband was traveling on business, so I had to hurry home, throw on my Super-mama cape, wrangle all three kids into bed after feeding them a somewhat healthy meal, giving them their baths and preparing their backpacks for the next day.  I quickly stopped off at Toys R Us to arm myself with some small toys for the kids, aka bribery for good behavior.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the 8th Wonder of the World I noticed that my “check tire pressure" light was on. A quick lap around the car revealed a good size nail in the wall of my rear tire. The air leaving my tire was whistling Dixie at me, in a mocking kind of way. “Super-mama powers ACTIVATE”. This is one of those situations where you can choose to crumble to the ground, kick, scream, cry, call your husband who is miles away and proceed to waste precious time and energy on feeling sorry for yourself, because no one else is. Or you pull yourself together, call roadside assistance, arrange for the nanny to work a little late, and THEN you call your husband informing him of the situation. I chose the latter.

I had a few flashes of self-pity as I sat down to wait for help to arrive. At that moment I started talking to myself. That is right I was the crazed woman in the back of the parking lot carrying on a conversation with myself. I said “think of a “Happiness is…” quote RIGHT NOW. Find one thing to be thankful for in this particular situation”. I decided that I was lucky not to have my kids with me. They would not have been happy having to wait an hour for the truck to arrive, and they would more than likely have talked me into going back inside Toys R Us. Turning the situation into a “Happiness is” observation felt like an instantaneous emotional facelift. 

I started posting “Happiness is” themed status updates on Facebook a few years ago. The idea started one night as I was walking up and down the bedroom floor rocking our middle son to sleep because of his teething pain. I could have chosen to be irritated over the lack of sleep and having to deal with a cranky baby. Instead I realized that this baby was thankfully healthy and not crying because he was in any life-threatening pain. His discomfort allowed us quiet one on one cuddle time that we otherwise would not have had. So I thought to myself “Happiness is teething at 3:00am”. Since then I have made it a point to try to turn everyday situations into moments of happiness celebrations. It is not that our lives are void of any disappointments, unhappiness, tears or frowns. However, it is because of and in spite of life’s ups and downs that we celebrate every small moment of happiness. I call it my “happiness therapy” and it works!

Instead of whining about a flat tire, I spent an hour cleaning out my wallet, my purse, making lists of things I wanted or needed to do. When I finally got home, an hour and a half late the kids were thrilled to see me, and they LOVED their “breakfast for dinner” as my last minute almost-healthy-meal solution. Oh, and they got their toys – the bribery worked and they were in bed half an hour earlier than normal. Ahhhhhh - Happiness! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happiness is a Word that Starts With "T"

As a family of five with three boys ages six, four and one you have to check your modesty at the door. Every day we are introduced to a new list of “potty words” that should be added to the latest edition of Webster’s Dictionary.

Our oldest boy must have realized that it is breast cancer awareness month when he agonized over what to bring for show and tell on Monday. The letter of the week was “T” and he wanted to take something cool, at least in the eyes of his kindergarten peers. We went through the obvious choices of Triceratops, T-Rex and Tiger. We even branched into the more non-conventional ideas of Toilet paper, Trash bag and Toothbrush, but none of these suggestions were met with the enthusiasm with which they were presented. 

All of a sudden, Jacob’s face lit up like the sky on a moon lit night. With enough emotion and drama to almost earn him an Oscar or at least a Tony, he said “I have a word on my brain, and it will not go away. I cannot stop thinking about it. I think it starts with “T”.” Both my husband were relieved to think that this never-ending parade of items starting with “T” could finally come to an end. Jacob gathered all his courage and proudly exclaimed “Titty!”!

Silence fell upon the room. As on queue, without a word spoken between us, both my husband and I had blank expressions, suppressing any hint of amusement. We ever so calmly said “that is not even a word, honey. Let us think of something else.” Jacob eventually settled on bringing a white tiger and a Transformer car to school.

As his mother, I certainly hope the word that would not leave his brain has been suppressed for at least another 10 – 15 years.