Gratitude now guides my happiness practice. I know how lucky I am to weather life with kids and my handsome husband. (And when everyone is asleep I feel blissfully content.) I can’t dwell on the difficulties our family will one day outgrow. We will grow into new challenges. I’m focused on sharing the good moments. (Don’t we all need a little more happiness in the feed?) I post things I want to remember. In time, the memories of trying to change a wiggly, squirming baby will fade. I don’t remember all the spills or the fights over fire trucks. I remember the laughter, the smell of freshly bathed babies and all the things that could never fit inside a tiny white square. I’ll enjoy looking back at all the shiny Facebook memories of posts shared a year ago, or five years ago. I’ll also remember to reach out to friends a little more often because maybe they’re waiting on their own double rainbow between spills and struggle. ❤
My life looks pretty good on Facebook. Handsome husband. Happy kids. Joyful moments. Good Cropping. That’s why this week’s video from confidence coach Catia Holm reverberated. “Is your life as good as it appears on Facebook?” I thought about it. I only post videos and pictures I want to remember—the shiny stuff between tantrums and tidying up (OMG, the tidying up). But if I’m going to answer the question honestly, I must say my life is better than it appears on Facebook. Most of my unforgettable moments happen off-camera while I’m fully present with my little family. Take the other night, while nursing Addy and reading to Brandon. My baby rolled over and blew a raspberry on my tummy for the first time. The noise sent both my kids into hysterics. Keep in mind he put her in a Hulk-style headlock hours earlier. “I love her.” Brandon said with genuine adoration between laughs and calls for “one more time.” At this moment, love filled the room—my very own double rainbow, two babies belly laughing, a lifetime memory embedded far away from my news feed.
Double rainbows only follow soaking rain, though. It’s like we’re living in the tropics over here. Hours before my beautiful double rainbow Brandon fell asleep on the car ride over to grandma’s house (eye roll) at 5:00PM!!! He started screaming when he woke up at home. “I want to go to grandma’s house!” “I want chocolate milk.” “I want to do it! [put the straw in the milk]” but he couldn’t see through the blur of tears. He went into, as Oprah calls it, the full-on “ugly cry” with blotches, belly-quakes, and breaks between sobs.
Clearly, I’m not steeped in bliss all day long. Most days pack more spills, cries, and annoyances that I could possibly post. I didn’t share two weeks ago when the state called on my husband’s special response team to patrol neighborhoods, outside of Houston, evacuated due to flooding. He texted us a picture of a gator sunbathing near his post. (Oh great, he’s sightseeing, while I do the real work I thought only half joking.) I laughed at my son’s response to the pic, “Call daddy. Tell him to be careful.” I wanted him to be careful too. It’s hard when he’s away. I worry, juggle, and wait for his return. He brightens my day and makes me a better mom. Five long days passed before I wrapped my arms around Donald as he walked into our kitchen. Pure relief. Pure love.
The scent of cotton candy, remnants of a strawberry Addy squished between her fingers while she nibbled with her two little teeth, melted my heart as I kissed her hands the other morning. Gratitude grips tightly to the sound of coffee brewing on the days my husband lets me sleep in. Squeals of excitement fill our home every day. Every single day. Inversely, accidental head bonks, budget talks, tearful toddler-sized demands, and hugs so tight I’m forced to intervene happen with the same frequency. It’s the best/hardest time of my life. Staying home takes financial sacrifice I would never talk about on Facebook. I’ve heard studies show parents of small children take a dip in their happiness for a lot of reasons. That’s why I am a big fan of the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (who happens to be a mom too.) She talks about tried and true ways we can all cultivate more happiness no matter our circumstances. I read the book almost five years ago when my life looked better on Facebook than it felt in real life. Good Job. Lots of friends. Lack of purpose.