Happiness: A State of Mind

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~Abraham Lincoln
Today began with all the earmarks of a bad day.  I woke up 20 minutes before my mother’s 9 A.M. doctor’s appointment. I had a good hair day on a morning that it insisted on raining.  I stopped at the grocery store for five items: milk, cat food, grapes, bananas and lettuce; and after purchasing ten times that amount, I arrived home without two of the items that I intended to purchase.  So, I drive home uneventfully. I am about to get out of the car and it suddenly occurs to me, I am sitting in our driveway (in pain, but let’s not even go there!) with my Mom and groceries in tow, and the door key is IN THE HOUSE! Yes, I have managed to lock us out of the house. (The door key fell off the key ring and I’d forgotten to put it back on before we left.) Everyone with a key to the house was anywhere from 16-25 miles (one way) from our front door. We had absolutely no way of getting into the house short of driving through the front door and believe me, for a brief second, I considered it.  

Instead, I called my daughter who never answers her phone. She didn’t disappoint. I reluctantly called my poor, harried husband who works over 40 miles round-trip from our home and is quite busy at work. He was in his office and answered the phone. After beating around the bush and pointless pleasantries, I finally got around to why I was calling.  He, without the slightest aggravation or smugness, replied, “OK, no problem, I’ll just come home and let y’all in.”  I apologized profusely and he said, “It could happen to anyone.” Have I said that I love my husband? Well, I love my husband. After calling him, I put the phone down.

Where?  At that time, I couldn’t tell you.  And the rain came. There I am out in the rain, retracing my steps, looking high and low for the phone–no phone. Did I mention that it was raining even harder at this point?  I could not find the phone anywhere and in spite of my attempt to will the thing to ring, it didn’t.  Naturally, none of the myriad people who call me daily choose to call at that time.  As I learned from my days as a young girl waiting impatiently by the phone, it never rings when you want it to do so. Finally, I gave up and settled in the car, silently berating myself for being so dumb as to lock us out of the house, and for everything else that had gone wrong thus far.  Yes, I decided, this was indeed a bad day. 

My knight in shining armor arrived sooner than I’d expected and I resisted offering another round of apologies.  He opened the door with no hint of annoyance. I immediately ran into the house, grabbed the house phone, run-walked out the door and started dialing my mobile phone. I was certain that it was in the garage, but no ring-ring to be found. I’d already searched the car and knew it wasn’t there, but it had to be somewhere, so I said, “what the heck.” Now, remember, it is still raining outside. I dial the number. To my surprise and relief, I hear a muffled ring-ring, ring-ring, ring-ring.  The sound suggests that it is indeed in the car. I try to follow the ring before it stops. It stops. I dial again, same story. I repeat this four times and I still cannot find the phone. By this time, I am really aggravated and the lettuce is in the trunk wilting. 

I storm out of the car, press redial and stand there in the rain. The phone rings.  Ring-Ring, Ring-Ring, Ring-Ring. I am confused because I hear the ring loud and clear, it is no longer muffled.  My eyes follow the sound. They follow it right to my phone–sitting on the roof of the car, in the rain! It was right there all the time.  At that moment, I burst out laughing–at myself for leaving the phone sitting on the roof of the car where it was rained on, for misplacing the phone in the first place, for not seeing it the scores of times that I got in and out of the car, for locking us out of the house and causing my hubby to drive all the way home to let us in, for getting my Mom to her doctor’s appointment late, for all of it. 

I realized then and there that I could look at everything that happened today from two perspectives– one negative and one positive. Either way, I have the power to control whether I have a bad day or a good one.  I can chose to allow these mishaps to ruin the rest of my day or view them as the minor bumps that they are, and to be happy. I chose how I will respond to them. They, in and of themselves, do not dictate how I feel. I do.  Although I do believe that we can chose to be happy or sad, I cannot tell you what choice I will make in the future, not even tomorrow. All that I can say is that for the present moment, I chose “happy.”

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Blessings and happiness to you.

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Merry Christmas, Peace and Joy, to you and your loveds. May you have a happy New Year filled with blessings, good fortune and good friends.

From my family to yours, Lydia

Happy 4th birthday Dai-Dai

Today is a special day in my life. It was 4 years ago that my g’daughter DaiDai Catrina’s shining light entered this world. During these years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to watch her grow from an infant, to a toddler, to a beautiful little girl. Instead of going over the last 4 years, I want to take you back to the day when we were blessed with a wonder such as she:

Daisy’s B’Day
September 28, 2006

Under a beautiful, golden yellow-orange sunrise, J. and I are headed to St. David’s for one of the ultimate blessings in one’s lifetime–the birth of a child. More importantly, (to me anyway) is the birth of the first child to my last child. Fortunately, I’ve had over nine months to acclimate my mind to the fact that “my baby” is a pregnant woman and a mother-to-be. During that time, I realized for the first time that until she became pregnant, I still looked upon BW as my baby girl, certainly not an adult and never a mom.

As it became more and more apparent that BW was pregnant, I felt part joy and part apprehension. At some point, I remembering looking at BW, big with DaiDai, as she laughed and giggled at some DaiDai antic. She was happier than I’d ever seen her and then she transformed before my eyes into a woman, a young woman, (far older than I was when I had my first child) but a woman just the same. My baby was gone, but in her place was a woman and soon to be, a mother. I have that image of her in mind during the remaining drive to the hospital. 

Later at home.

Although I intended to journal my immediate thoughts and feelings throughout the day, I was too overwhelmed to write.  Evening has come and I am home, exhausted from an amazing and exhilarating day, but far from sleep. At 8:08 A.M., Dai made her entrance into our world weighing 7 lbs, and 19 inches in length.  Even at the hefty weight of 7 lbs., she is considered a preemie because her lungs are not fully developed. She is now safely ensconced in the neonatal unit, where she seems a giant compared to the other babies. As of yet, I have only seen her from afar but I can’t imagine a more beautiful sight than my 2nd g’daughter. I don’t have to hold her in my arms because  over the past eight months she has etched her place in my heart, and I love her fiercely. Based on my last conversation with D, DaiDai is already improving and she had to be restrained to prevent her from removing the tubes from her nose.  Her mother is doing well also. D, my son-in-law, packed his own suitcase so that he could remain at the hospital 24/7 with “his girls”. He did.  

So much has changed during the past three years and it takes moments like this to remind me that along with the lows, there are events that can only be described as “infinite highs”–immeasurable blessings. My goal in life is to be thankful for all the moments, be they highs or lows because one is no more or less important than the other. (On days such as this, it is tempting to elevate the highs over the lows. It comes down to being grateful for all of my moments, and wringing out every lesson, every experience, every morsel of truth, every lie, that I can glean from each and every moment. Were it not for the lows, I would have no way of appreciating the immense blessings brought by days like this. It is on days like this that I treasure my role as a mother. Now, BW and I are equals of sorts — a mother and a g’mom vying to treasure every moment in DaiDai’s life. I hope that she’ll share.