Happiness. We all want it don’t we? Personally, despite life’s inevitable low points, I think I’m more of a glass-half-full rather than half-empty sort (like I said, I think!). It”s what works for me. Yes, admittedly, when you live on a little island that is positively drenched in sunshine most of the year, it’s easy to be glass more-than-half-full. In fact, I honestly don’t think a day has gone by in the last few years, where I haven’t done a mental fist pump because of the glorious blue skies and sun we have here. For sure, I’ve bored my kids to tears (and probably half my FB friends) constantly saying how lucky we are.
So recently, a few things have got me thinking about the whole ‘happiness thing’. Pharrell Williams is one of them. He did something with that song; he got us thinking about the H word. (You might want to watch this fab clip of the man himself crying tears of yep, happiness about the impact of the song). It blew me away…such an honest real moving reaction.
Something else that got me thinking was a friend’s 100 Days of Happiness challenge documented over three months on FB. They made me smile and reminded me of something we’ve done ever since Musical M was three years old where we all share our ‘favourite moment of the day’ at bedtime. All three kids love it but even if we saw the Queen in a karaoke bar singing a One Direction song, you can bet money that if the kids watched a DVD that same day, then that trumps the Queen. Seriously though, even if you’ve had a rough day, it makes you focus back on the positive. Oh, don’t worry, no gloating here. I’m NO earth mother. Sometimes my favourite part of the day comes after I’ve got them into bed when I head downstairs to a glass of wine.
The other big ‘what makes me happy’ trigger was our Easter break; in particular, the day I took them to Golden Bay. One of those perfect days with lovely friends, 13 kids playing easily, relaxed lunch, ice creams, sand castles, ball games, sun lounger chilling, coffee in the sea wind and musical nostalgia-fest on the cafe radio. By late afternoon, it was just me and my lovely ‘baker in chief’ friend (who also features in the below list…I wonder if she can work out where) with our six kids. She got out one of those neat little pocket kites and what unfolded was one of those moments that I’ll always treasure. Now, bear in mind that I grew up in the suburbs of Greater London; a pretty ‘regular’ Indian upbringing (who can spot the subtext?), no beaches nearby, kite-flying unfamiliar to us and not much sunshine…a different time, a different generation, a different culture. Yet here I was, decades later on a Mediterranean beach not far from where I live, my eldest having fun climbing over rocks with baker lady’s eldest, my other two running around on the sand without a care in the world chasing after their kite-flying friends, all of us laughing in the evening sun. Parents do their best. Mine did theirs in their way. Yet it hit me, probably more than at any other point in my parenting experience, just how much your kids’ childhood can turn out to be different from your own (that stands for any culture).
Where am I going with this? Well, if Pharrell ever comes knocking on my door, I’ll tell him this is my official list of what makes me happy (for now).
(My) Happiness is…
1. Coming downstairs in the morning to find that hubster has done the packed lunches.
2. The stunning coastline drive to my house.
3. Grabbing a 15 minute breather with a cup of tea (and cake) after non-stop chores before heading out again for the school run.
4. The squeals of “Mama!” from my baby as she runs down her kindergarten corridor towards me smiling.
5. Coming across a film that is such a gem, it leaves its mark on me, becoming an ‘old friend’ I go to when I need comfort (About Time and Something’s Gotta Give are up there).
6. Pulling warm cake out of the oven on a rainy afternoon.
7. Finally figuring out who sings a particular song (We are People or Home recently for me.)
8. Yoga at Golden Bay under blue skies and palm trees.
9. The sight of my kids going nuts in the lounge dancing to my Spotify playlist.
10. Watching Musical M effortlessly dive into a pool, remembering how at that age I was too terrified to even get in.
11. Coffee with girlfriends.
12. Melting under a long hot shower after a long blissful run and sinking onto the sofa afterwards for trashy TV.
13. Hubster paying me a compliment (about whatever…not fussy…after 17 years together, I’ll take anything).
14. Discovering I can do something I never thought I could do.
15. An afternoon of board games to a soundtrack of old school tunes (making Bowie/U2/Beatles/Wonder fans out of the kids).
16. Coffee with myself.
17. Rushing through homework and dinner on auto pilot only to remember the next day is a holiday which equals no school which equals movie night.
18. Movie night!
19. Stopping after school at a beach café to grab a drink in the sun while the kids collect shells.
20. Wine…and the sound of the cork popping and the wonderful glug glug of the first pour.
21. Conquering a life-long fear.
22. Hearing my daughter sing and knowing, beyond natural maternal bias, that she really has got something.
23. Having a friend who would actually leave her house at night, get in the car and come over to mine with a bottle of wine if I said I had none in the house. 🙂
24. Home-made ice cream…see Hubster smile!
25. A beach-side restaurant finally opening a minute’s walk from our house where we can laze over Sunday lunch and let the kids literally step out the back onto the sand while we both have a coffee and a chat.
26. Meeting two cool chikitas, one whom I first met years ago but never actually got to know, the other whom I met quite randomly just a year ago – and knowing they will both be in my life forever.
27. Realising the best things happen when you’re least expecting them.
28. Hubster returning safe and sound from business trips.
29. The sound of my kids laughing. OF COURSE.
30. Launching a blog that has led me to discover the most heart-warming, surprising, affirming things about myself and others that I never expected.
This is my truth. These are what make me happy. So I’m clapping my hands, like Mr Williams said.
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