Saturday, February 07, 2015

My Mom sent me a link on happiness and parenting.   I read it tonight after nursing the nearly-2-year-old Elie to sleep.    It talks about how we, modern parents, parent in the way we parent motivated by our desire to raise children to become happy adults.   The article was reflections on a book about how modern parents can keep happy despite our bizarre parenting times.  

This past Christmas, my husband and I took a 19-hour car trip with our three children (8, 5, and 1) in the backseat.   We told ourselves to expect that it was going to be horrid.   The 1 year-old wasn't going to sleep, the 8-year-old would lodge her elbow permanently into the ribs of her 5-year-old brother who would not stop farting or talking the whole way and definitely get car sick.   I would be bobbing my head at the wheel at 3 and 4 AM.   My husband would take advantage of the opportunity to micro-criticize my driving passing up the opportunity to sleep.   The car would break down.    Not the lowest of expectations but the trip went very well actually.

I don't know if it's just negative to lower one's expectations but it does seem to be useful.   I don't know if I just watched too many American movies or if I just innately think things and events are going to be fun because fun is one of my main goals in life.    I am generally carefree and adventurous which has taken me far enough into and around the world to see that I've been very blessed with a very life-filled life.   (Much of this life and opportunity is related to being born in the democracy of Canada to a well-established family in a Christian community.)  

I just returned to Canada after about a decade living and working and bearing 3 children in Haiti.   With each of these children there was the initial feeling of the miracle of a growing baby in front of the feeling of terror associated with the different ways our baby could die.  
As they grew the fears were different but still there.  

In fact, one of the reasons I wanted a third child is in case one dies, then at least there are two left over.     I had hardly these words out of my mouth to my cousin who interrupted me to say that's why she also decided to have a 3rd child.   It's just that since there all still living now, it opens up limitless amounts of time to spend wondering which of my children is going to die and how and when.  

It also reminds me everyday to cherish the time we have now, to look into their eyes more than my iPhone, to take every opportunity to touch them, to avoid yelling at them.   In the nearly 10 years that I lived in Haiti, I did not even once attend a funeral but I am told that Haitians practice wailing at funerals.   Theirs a moment perhaps when the casket is closed that those closest to the deceased all out wail.   So even if I didn't go to a funeral, I did on many occasions hear if not see this wailing.   The wailing seems like a good idea.   It's seems to be releasing some big emotions past and future.   It seems like a way of looking at death in the face rather than quietly hoping and/or denying grief and loss.  

I think happiness is overrated.   Being happy requires knowing what unhappiness is.   We wouldn't have nearly as many poets and how would we make close friends if we didn't ever need to lean on someone else when experiencing disappointment and loss.   Anyway, how would humans have been motivated to evolve if we had all of our desires met already?   Of course, the possibility of perpetual happiness probably keeps money flowing out of our hands into the producers of this "perma"-happiness.  I am not going to pretend to be the first to suggest that idea.    

Of course I want my children to be happy but I also want them to experience the full range of human emotions and to know that they can survive each one of them.

I am definitely the type to stay just a bit outside of happiness just to have something to look forward too.  Okay that's enough material for at least two New Year's Resolutions:

-look into eyes instead of iPhones
-teach my children how to handle less than happiness by example…

how many years do I have?  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Monday, April 08, 2013

big brother

Friday, April 05, 2013