I was trying to have a conversation with my daughter today while her toddler bounced around the room, either hurting himself or getting into something he shouldn't. The conversation was about trying to hang on in this economy. Her husband has a lucrative sales job that is not as lucrative as it was last year. Like most young families, she is trying to stretch herself and their resources, to make ends meet. In between picking him up to kiss an owie and tell him to get off/out of something, she sounded harried and exhausted, but also strangely happy.
I started thinking about happiness. How you can always be happy if you are in the moment. By that I mean, just taking a small second to be aware of all the good that is around you. Just right at that very moment.
I remember finding out I had a brain tumor. I was 33 years old, with a six year old daughter, and one eighteen months. My mother had died when I was six, so this year of my daughter's life was very poignant for me.
It came out of the blue - one minute I was just fine - swimming a mile a day in the community pool and the next I was on my way to LA for some serious surgery. I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma - which is a tumor wrapped around the acoustic nerve on the brainstem side. It was thought to be benign, but not in a good location, and rather large in size. In the end, I lost my hearing on one side, my face was temporarily and completely paralyzed on one side, one eye not tearing at all. I had to wear this ugly eye patch that was see-through. To say I was odd looking is an understatement! But whenever I started to feel sorry for myself, in that moment, all I could feel was incredibly lucky! Lucky to be alive, lucky to have a beautiful family, an incredible husband, to have a future. There were so many others dealing with so much more. So, because it was so easy to feel sorry for myself, and my family needed me to be strong, I tried to stay in the moment as much as possible. It really was the only way to get through it and recover.
I sensed my daughter doing that today. She was busy, harassed, worried. But then her son would do something endearing or funny. And in that exact moment she was happy. Nothing else mattered.