I turned seventeen, met Trevor, and happiness became something more apparent. The future that I knew would happen, happened. Happiness was long drives through Zion, walks and swinging at the park, meals together, going to movies, kissing.
We got married and it was final and lasting and forever.
Soon after I delivered Emily, I started to question my happiness. My life wasn't the same as the lives of the people in the books I read. Those fictional characters went through horrible things and came out almost perfect. It was an unattainable image that I couldn't ever see my life as being parallel to. I wondered many times why my life wasn't as perfect as the people in books. It didn't seem fair that I could barely handle a crying baby and rambunctious toddler and still stay sane.
I quit reading those books. And it was good riddance too. They were depressing and emotionally draining.
Years have passed since I've read those books and I believe I've learned a few things. I remember someone once saying to me that if you have to wonder whether you're happy, you aren't. And while in some cases that may be true, most of the time, it isn't. Happiness is a choice. It's choosing to live your life the way you want to live it. It's not worrying about what everyone else around you is doing or what they have or where they go on vacation. For me, it's waking up and deciding to just let things go, relaxing, taking no offence, being sensitive to others, trying harder.
My happiness comes in simple things. It's sitting around the dinner table after everyone's done and just talking with each other. It comes as I accept myself as I am; accepting that I don't get out of bed until 7:24 and I don't go to bed until 11:30. It's being okay with eating dinner at 7:30 at night. Who ever said that dinner had to be served at 5:30 anyway?
I'm happy when my kids do something right and good and care about the people around them.
I'm happy when I'm outside putting my hands in the dirt even though it's mixed in with cow poo.
Happiness is receiving lilacs from my neighbor and then sitting outside in the grass talking for hours with each other.
It's the smell of banana muffins baking, the same ones I've been making for years that remind me of summer and the time of day when the kids get home from school.
It's reading a good, uplifting book that reminds me of the person I want to be and the person I'm trying to be.
I'm happy watching my kids loose their inhibitions and be silly and fun. Even watching Anna do the "Napoleon Dynamite" dance for the hundredth time and realizing that she actually does a great job.
My happiness comes from the color of their eyes and paying attention to them when they talk.
And my happiness comes home at 5:45. And it's at 9:30 when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet and there's "our" time.
I know this for sure: If I make the choice to be happy, I will be happy.
(lilacs from my kind neighbor; possibly my favorite flower to be put on display...especially when in a can)