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Katy England Katy England
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edge staff writer


DIY Happiness

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Kids don't get Mother's Day; they never really will. I don't care how much I can empathize with my mother and what she went through raising me it's a day late and a couple millions dollars short. When you're doing this gig like most important jobs in the world it's not for the pay and benefits.

This isn't to say I don't want to be appreciated. That would be a big fat lie. But I've come to learn that I can't expect that from the kids and also expect to have a nice day. Breakfast in bed won't save you if you can't find your own happiness throughout the day.

I realized this when I was having a day. You know, the kind where someone in your house is just mad about something pretty much all the time. They took turns yelling, but it was always someone hollering (someone was hogging the bubbles, someone had their chalk stolen you know, big things). Then it stopped briefly, but it stopped. All three were playing with the branches of the apple tree, looking at me where I was sitting on the floorboards of the porch and they laughed, grinned and smiled at me. And I had a choice I could stay mad and tired or I could laugh with them. At that moment, I was the only one in a bad mood so I chose to let it go.

And you can't really expect them to be the ones to spear-head Mother's Day. I do quite a lot of the spoiling for myself. I marinate my own steak, I've planned out the brunch I will enjoy (at sporadic intervals throughout the day). But my rather awesome husband has picked me up a pint of Gritty's Black Fly Stout and given me leave to schedule a day at a spa of my choosing on a day of my choosing (we both work Sundays, and without more preplanning than either of us are prepared for it isn't happening on the Day Itself).

But all the steaks and spas in the world don't really get the job done if you don't do something else first. I'll try to explain: bear with me, the kids ate my brain.

My kids aren't three yet, and they feel huge spectrums of emotions every day. I'm on that rollercoaster with them. It's a rough ride, one that reasonable, well-rounded people in polite society don't care to hear about. Kids have big fear, big pain, big anger and big laughs and big love. We grown-ups aren't used to being so fey in our moods. We ease into relaxation, we gear up for a good time, we brace ourselves for a stressful work week. Kids don't do that they are all or nothing. They are awake and going million directions at once, or they're asleep. They are laughing and singing or they are screaming bloody murder. There is very little in between.

It's adults who live in prolonged states of emotion. We stretch out emotions well, we stretch out negative emotions. When was the last time you were able to linger in a happy moment after being cut off in traffic? Ruins your whole day, doesn't it? Not the kids. They can be up all night, miserable and sick, get into a brawl with a sibling, cry for half a century because they don't get another cookie and then suddenly be delighted by the cat.

There's a big lesson in there. And I hate that I have to learn it over and over again, but I guess it's good that I realize it's there.

But I'm glad I can learn it. I mean, if I couldreallylearn it to just be happy when glorious things like cats let me pet them and forget whatever it was I was crying about. Best. Present. Ever.


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