Yesterday I read this blog post on Momastary about being happy. Really, it was about how our children want happy parents and happy families - and we're not living up to the job.
What struck me most about the post were the comments. Comment after comment from women who said, "Thank you. You're right. I'm unhappy and need to cheer up for my kids' sake."
And I felt so grateful for my happy mom and my happy family. It brought to mind a moment from a few months ago.
Grey and Micah and I stayed with my grandparents over New Years this year. One night, after I had tucked my kids into bed, I was making cookies in the kitchen and singing lullabies and children's hymns to myself as I scooped out dough balls.
"Who is singing so beautifully in the kitchen?" called my Great Grandpa from the living room. "Your children are lucky that they get to live in a home that sounds like that."
I laughed, because I thought he was complimenting my musical abilities, which are nothing to brag about.
But now I realize that he wasn't praising my voice, but my happiness. My children are lucky to live in a home of happiness, joy, and contentment.
They are lucky to grow up in a home with cookies and singing in the kitchen. I grew up in that kind of home.
I have a mother who is quick to express gratitude and joy, and who taught her children to do the same.
Rereading the (extensive) journals from my teenage years is so funny- because every entry starts the same- with complaints and hardships from the day. Then slowly after a paragraph or sentence or two about what I did that day, I would end with "Today was a really good day! I'm so happy about [whatever], I'm so excited about tomorrow!"
It didn't take long for my discontentment to make room for joy.
People say that happiness is a choice, but I'm not sure that's totally accurate.
I think happiness is a skill. An ability.
I am grateful that I had such wonderful, joyful parents to teach me how to be happy. I want to teach my children to be happy- despite hardships, in the face of trials. To find great joy in small things, and take delight in everything, while letting the disappointments, heartbreaks, and frustrations of life slide away into an unremembered ditch somewhere.
I want to live in a happy home, with happy children- a refuge from the ugliness, unkindness, and grief from the world that lurks outside our front doors.
I want to live in a home with cookies and singing in the kitchen. And who can blame me?
Cookies are delicious.
And my mom is the best.