Happiness is Relative

As I look at these pictures from our recent day trip to Mystic, Connecticut, I am reminded of these lyrics:  “Happiness is relative, based upon the way we live.”  I forget where I heard them but they stuck in my head.  Happiness is indeed a place founded on emotional highs and smooth sailing seasons of life…happiness does not survive well in the darker places when everything just feels hard and complicated. 

Last Saturday was a day of smiles and laughter and the gift of new surroundings and change, but then the nitty gritty of life set in again.  The many tantrums, the screams of a two year old who is daily reminded to “use her words” and “practice self control,” the worries of making sure Amelia is getting enough caloriesfor the day.  Feeling like I have to be the cruel task master most of the day, keeping my troops from killing one another or breaking mirrors from high pitched screeching.  I wonder if it ever gets easier.  I mean…I deserve a little break, don’t I?  The very self-pity I reprimand my four year old for is thriving inside my heart too.

And then we have a good day today…I see light today, I see hope today.  As we do the long walk to the library and then the playground with out any tantrums or dramatic episodes, I am thankful and cherish the memory of feeling like this day was a day in which we really soaked in the enjoyment of each other.   Oh I want to hold on to the memory of days like this…happy days.

But what if tomorrow is another upside down day?  What if nothing goes right?  What if my children act as if they have never known correction a day in their life and I get horrified looks from passers by?  Will I be able to feel be joyful whatever the circumstances might be? 

And then, some day far off, I will be gray haired, walking down the street and watching young moms, still in the thick of things, as they push their strollers down the street or deal with an unruly youngster and I know, I know that I will be wistful and miss those days.  I know there will be things I would wish I had done much differently.  I know I will see their gritted teeth and want to say to them, like so many older moms say to me right now, “these days go by so quickly!  Cherish them!”

If I live for the happy moments, these days will not be cherished days because those moments come and go.  But with a mindset of joy and gratitude, the days can be filled with more stability and promise.  But oh is being a stay-at-home-mom a refining job!  My character is just as much constantly in question as the character of my children…at times I am utterly appalled at myself.  I see God’s sense of humor in putting me in this role because it is so much infinitely bigger than anything I can do on my own…it is humbling beyond belief and I daily testify to the fact that I will not be writing a parenting book anytime soon unless of course it is titled, “Parenting:  What NOT to Do!” 

Any interested readers?:)

 

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14 Responses to Happiness is Relative

  1. bchallies says:

    Great post, Hon…..I know exactly what you mean when you say you find yourself appalling. Sensitive people really mean it when they say,” I am the worst sinner I know”…..

  2. Shirley Rose says:

    Looks like a fun day was had by all.

    Loved the pictures

  3. Adrienne says:

    ” . . . my children act as if they have never known correction a day in their life . . . ” There have been so many times I have had this exact sentiment this week! I have frustratingly lamented that it often times seems like discipline makes little difference, though I know of course this is not true. Sometimes when the screams are deafening I have wondered why I even bother. I do continue to “bother” though, because I know I will see the fruit someday and like you said I will wish for those days again! Thanks for the reminder to keep everything in perspective. It’s so easy to focus too much on daily frustrations and forget the bigger picture. Loved the pictures! The girls looks so sweet in their matching dresses.

  4. Franci Hoyt says:

    Beautiful post, Susanna! I love your honesty. The pictures were beautiful — I hope you enjoy your weekend this weekend too!

  5. Hanneke says:

    Thanks for the post Susanna! Motherhood is a bit like that isn’t it? I’m only up to parenting a nine year old (with four girls in total!) and I can see some of the benefits of the ‘heart’ training of our girls! Unfortunately for number 4, mum has been there than that, and so I’m a lot calmer than probably with number one! I seek advice from a very godly woman whose children are older than me, a huge encouragement to me when I’ve had enough of those girls!

  6. Megha says:

    Your posts are always so timely, Susanna, and encouraging! I get so exhausted disciplining sometimes. I absolutely love my days when Taran is sweet and obedient and happy, and the girls are easygoing…but these are few and far between, especially when we try to do something special or different from our regular routine. I too remind myself to cherish these young years. We can’t yet truly enjoy a meal out, or go to the movies together, or go a whole day without a tantrum….but there is nothing like their sweet smiles, the bear hugs, and the innocence of their youth. :)

  7. Grace says:

    Glad to see you alive and well! I’ve been really worried about you. Love those babies…all three! Amelia is looking so healthy! Glad you were able to get away for a day. I’m sure every single mom feels the way you do…often defeated but thankful for the days that are good. And I agree..parenting shows a lot about self that is no pleasant to see.

  8. Mom R. says:

    Great pictures!! Loved seeing them and seeing such big smiles from Amelia, especially. It looks like you all had a fun day. I will be sending a few of these pictures to my frame!

  9. Good post, and so glad you re-surfaced! Send me prayer requests on those hard days. I am sometimes late in responding, but I ALWAYS read and pray for you when I know you need it!

  10. Enjoyed reading your post and looking at the pictures!

  11. jchaliies says:

    The hardest challenge in life is to appreciate those good and fulfiling moments which seem to be so fleeting. if only they would loiter for a while.
    I love the matching dresses,

    Dad

  12. Thanks for writing this! Its sometimes easy to be happy on the good days but I fear with 3 small little ones that need constant discipline, love and attention the dealing with screams and tempers are more of a reality. Its encouraging to be reminded that even these days need to be cherished for they pass by so quickly.. Although…when I’m in the midst of things I do sometimes long for the day when the kids are old enough so I can just talk a quick walk around the block to clear my head of all the noise!

    Great pictures!

  13. I always appreciate your thoughts and insight! Thanks for sharing.

  14. TJ says:

    Beautiful photos and a great post!

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