Someone told me the other day how much happier I seemed, calmer, more at ease..... While some of the reasons for that are personal, it started me thinking about happiness.
Sometimes my hair's all frizzy and my nails don't match. Snow on the ground and hats in the snow. Most days my life is a combination of exasperation, exhaustion, frustration, and stress, not necessarily in that order but definitely part of the job. Only to be overshadowed by moments of joy that sneak up on me in the middle of the day when no one is looking. My eyes well up in a memory and I feel connected and happy. Moments in time. Never forgotten and always with me. They are real and palpable. Or one of my students breaks rank to sit down by my desk and confide about no food at home, or daddy's in jail, or 'I just don't feel like living anymore' (at 12-years-old) and then my eyes well up in a different way.... but happy that he trusts me enough to hand over his precarious life in a moment of innocent faith. And there it sits in my lap. Moments. Happy and dire. All at the same time. Big brown trusting eyes just waiting for the it's-going-to-be-OK speech from maestra and mascara running down my face. This kid doesn't care that my nails don't match. He just cares that I love him. He needs to make a connection. He needs someone to listen.
I am happy to be his anchor in that moment. I don't want to let him down.
Somewhere along the way someone taught him to trust. Even just one person is enough. Because in a moment of crisis all you need is one person. And so my vain self-centered "happy" becomes only background noise. Because someone else needs me. That is the happiest of happys you see....
So. I am happy with my freckles. I am happy with my wrinkles. I've started calling them fine wines instead of fine lines. The truth is... every line on my face tells a
That said, I'm still going to do what it takes to enhance those fine wines. I'm still drinking from that wisdom.
Little boys with wayward parents might make it seem most days that there's not enough of me to go around. It's enough to get a Queen depressed if she chose to go there. And then there's Lucy. Who always makes me laugh with her honest unsolicited evaluations on the state of my untamed pencil skirt on any given day. For instance, this is code for Wow- Teacher-forgot-to-comb-her-hair-this-morning... "I like your hair frizzy, Miss Mimi," red-haired Lucy told me the other day, "I can see your curls." Ha! She gets an A and I get a pass.
I'll keep reaching. But what used to make me happy only scratches the surface these days. What's underneath in the pages of years gone by is where the real substance lies in all of us. Other people need that Well. And as you age, you learn to keep the sacred parts to yourself for those bubbly moments in the middle of the day that make you smile and give away the residual parts borne of your own struggles to others. You are no longer restless. There's a contentment that comes with some living. It doesn't matter how you lived so much anymore, but why you lived and who you loved.
Can I make someone else happy today?
I hope so. That's the real happy.
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