Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Are You Happy?

Elise and me

She put her tiny hand in mine as we sat on the couch, sun just rising and filling the room with early dawn light. Cordelia lay stretched out on the rest of the couch. We were all waking up, only two of us were willingly waking up (hint: it was not me). I rubbed my hand through their messy bed heads. Elise looked up at me and asked,"Mom, are you happy?" I was happy, tired, but happy and I told her that I was very happy to be with my girls. Satisfied with my response she snuggled in for a morning cartoon.

Lately Elise has been asking me that question a lot, and it isn't just me---she asks most of her family if they are happy on a regular basis. I am not sure when I first noticed this habit, but mostly I just interpreted it as her way of gauging our moods. When she is naughty and is receiving a punishment she will ask, "Are you happy with me?" Her big blue eyes watery with the fear that I might not be happy with her. I craft a careful response something like, "I am not happy that you were naughty, but I am happy that you are going to change your attitude."

Then I caught myself asking that same question to Eric and Cordelia at different moments in the week. I had both Cordelia and Eric ask the same of me, and Elise. I realized that somehow this is just something that we have always done without really registering it, at least not until Elise started asking it with such frequency. I decided that I love that our little family is so focused on the happiness of each member. That's not to say that we are or should always be happy, but I think it is important to see where you are on the scale and why you are feeling the way that you are feeling.

Elise asking me this question many times a day has shown me a full spectrum of my emotions. Sometimes the answer is a resounding "YES!" Other times I am bummed, or bored, or sad and I answer her honestly. Of course this means she wants an explanation so it has made me take a closer look at how I am feeling and why I am feeling. I answer her in a child appropriate manner, omitting information like being annoyed that the hospital is charging me for nonsense.

Anyway, I suppose the point of this post was just to say that I think it is important and valuable to know how you are feeling and why you are feeling the way that you feel. Happiness is certainly a great place to be, but I am mostly looking for contentment. Are you happy?


Pam Brewer said...

While I like to be happy I have an anxious mind, so I settle for peace.

Emily said...

This is so good! I remember my girls asking (and sometimes still at age 10!) if I am happy. Especially when they were in trouble. Like you, I want them to know that the behavior didn't make me happy, but that there is nothing they could ever do to make me not love them anymore. I'm always happy that they are my daughters--good behavior or bad. :)

Sarah Purdy said...

I am not happy all the time, but I am content, satisfied, cozy, thoughtful, marveled, enthused, inspired, mega pumped and/or energized much of the time. And I am happy about that.

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