Happiness by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan
I am at a lost for words. Yesterday was a hard day. Christmas eve, mixed with hormones, old hurts, a sad occurrence, a messy house and my workspace/living room completely torn up all added up to a day filled with tears. I have not decided which is better: tears alone pining for someone or tears while in a relationship and feeling invisible…Truth, my truth: being married has been hard for me. I came to it late and have watched one too many light romantic comedies, which have fully warped my psyche in this department.
As I keep seeing, I mostly feel unhappy when I have something in my mind that is a measure of what I think I want or should have, but I don’t have it. When I have that thing: a house, a career with accolades, a nice car, a pretty ring or whatever I fancy at the moment I feel happy. When my husband acts the way I want I feel happy then too. When, in my opinion, he is an insensitive guy or doesn’t do things the way I want, I am unhappy. Depending on the level of deviation on his part, the scale of the argument can range from sarcasm to yelling to tears with name calling thrown in to accentuate my point. Fighting is a drag; it’s not pretty and the more I am in it the more unhappy I feel. In those moments I wonder if I don’t deserve better or just something else or if I’m just so awful I should not be married.
The thing that is so painful is that I don’t have any answers about this as it connects to my daughter. Having an alcoholic father I have tended to believe, as I grew up an moved out of the house, that my mother should have left him earlier. But what do I know? What is unhappiness and what is the measure of a healthy relationship? I don’t know. I wish there was a chart that I could walk up to and measure the situation and then definitively know what is reasonable.
What is reasonable? My happiness, daughter’s happiness, my husband’s happiness; is happiness the measure to gauge the value of anything? Hard work is an ethic that I live by when I do things. Practicing to get things right and improve is also a major ethic that rules my life. Both these things I try to convey to my daughter. Funny, my daughter is happy, fundamentally she is happy. She came out happy. She wakes up happy. The two things that effect her are sleep and food. When she lacks either one she can be quite crabby, which is becoming more and more apparent. I probably have these tendencies myself. My mother says that I always woke up happy when I was baby. One of the major things that keeps my husband and I together is our daughter’s happiness. The thing I wonder about though is what’s the balance? When does a child’s happiness stop being the measure? I don’t know.
This morning, Christmas day, Santa left me a pretty ring that I really wanted. I feel happy. Watching my daughter play with her toys I feel happy. Watching my husband enjoy the movies he wanted—he already played with his new super warm Carharts when he was doing some snow plowing a few days ago—I feel happy. I do have what I really wanted: a family.
What is the measure of happiness? My guess is that this will be an ongoing question for me. I do know that the more I feel happy about myself the happier everyone around me feels. My daughter knows that “a clean mommy is a happy mommy.” She’s been playing in the bathroom since she was a baby. I do need a shower, I need to hug my family. I need to relax and keep listening to my “HAPPY DANCE” music on my ipod…
Happy Holidays ;)
Wish me luck, next week is my birthday…