As I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve learned to love celebrating the special occasions or moments in life, whether large (like a milestone birthday) or small (the first time each of the kids slept through the night). Whether a party is thrown, a notation is made in a journal or a photograph is taken to capture the occasion or moment, it doesn’t matter; an occasion or moment has been celebrated and a memory made.
I have been reading Gretchen Ruben’s The Happiness Project, a book which “chronicles [Rubin’s] adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier”. In the month of April, Rubin talks about the concept of fog happiness. She describes it as “the kind of happiness you get from activities that, closely examined, don’t really seem to bring much happiness at all – yet somehow they do”.
It occurred to me this week as my family celebrated Mother’s Day and then my birthday, and with the upcoming 2nd birthday of our little Gabriel, that my life is in a constant state of foggy happiness. You see, I had a couple of completely sh**** days where nothing could go right, the kids misbehaved (which always seems to escalate and escalate) and I had to do more than the usual solo parenting because of Eugene’s work commitments. These were interspersed with the celebratory moments – the (sort of) sleep in and cooked breakfast on Mother’s Day, a Mother’s Day pamper session and morning tea with Lucinda and her kindy class and thoughtful little gifts from the girls (a handmade keyring from Lucinda and a book of vouchers from Genevieve), my last minute birthday morning tea with one of my sisters, niece, parents and aunt, an impromptu birthday visit by a dear friend who brought some gourmet cheeses and a bouquet of my favourite scented flowers (tuberose! – see picture above), and a quick birthday dinner at our local (and favourite) Japanese restaurant.
Some of these celebratory moments, when closely examined, were not particularly happy events in and of themselves, yet in my foggy happiness state, I consider them happy memories. Take, for example, my pamper session and morning tea with Luci’s kindy class. I spent most of the hour minding Gabriel as he happily wandered around in the kindy playground. I couldn’t take part in having Luci paint my nails as I didn’t know when I would need to rush off to take care of Gabriel nor could I do a painting with her because Gabriel kept wanting to stick his hands in the paint pots! Still, we managed a photo and were able to arrange some flowers together (courtesy of some toy cars to distract Gabriel).
I think it takes the occasional horror of a day to appreciate and celebrate the good days and moments. I am acutely aware that I cannot be (and am certainly not) happy all of the time. As I get older (this I am also acutely aware of!) I am just more mindful to remember that:
- each day is a fresh start;
- the kids will one day not need me so much, and I will be sad about that;
- fog happiness is still happiness; and
- I am enough, always.
I get very reflective on life whenever I age another year, just to see where I’m at and what I would like to achieve in the coming year. There were a couple of things on my wishlist for my birthday this year – firstly, I would like to get into shape and be fitter and stronger before I turn the big four-oh next year and secondly, I would like to work on making our already beautiful home more functional (we have an old but renovated home with insufficient storage for a growing family!). So, for my birthday, I asked for something priceless from Eugene – the opportunity to get fit and strong! I just had my first personal training session two days ago and I am SORE (in a good way!). The house stuff I am happy to slowly get around to doing (because kids and funds!) and hope to share the befores and afters with you as progress is made.