From my earliest memories I was not a happy person. Nothing terrible to report or overly morose – part biology and part experience – and my adulthood is a blessed one.
But when I was preparing to become a parent for the first time what kept me up many nights were the painful thoughts that my child-to-be would be unhappy. I didn’t expect to create an environment of perfection; even I know that the many moves and challenging personalities I handled as a child made me the resilient person I am today. But what if my child was *born* unhappy? And I, by virtue of bringing them into this world had brought an unhappy person into, well, unhappiness.
While my launch into motherhood was marked with many difficult surprises – 44 Hours of Labor! A Baby Who Wouldn’t Nurse! A Visit to the Hospital to Cure Jaundice! A Biliblanket! – the moment she entered the world I experienced profound, earth-shattering, core-stabilizing and deep, deep Joy.
Who was this person that I launched into the world? This stranger that I could finally meet after months of deep-sea moves under my skin? Who emerged was a happy baby. A baby who loved looking and taking in different sights and sounds. Loved smiling as soon as she could, who loved learning. A person who just last week looked at me when I came home and said that she was “happy.”
As we drove home this afternoon from a visit at my mother-in-law’s, we had the kids’ version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” on repeat. Each time it started up again she would say “More happy!” It made me want to clap my hands, stomp my feet and shout “hooray!”