Posted by Duff

I recently read a Newsweek article entitled: “True or False: Having Kids Makes You Happy” by Lorraine Ali. The conclusion was False.

My first thought was –two years after having a child– of course it’s false. Nothing external makes anyone happy in a real and lasting way.  After googling myself silly, I cannot find the source of the following almagamation of wisdom (none of it my own):

Happiness is an attitude, not a condition.”

It really does depend on how you look at things.  

At the risk of being roasted on a spit, I will admit freely and without reservation that the Dervish’s first year was the hardest supposed-to-be-happy year of my life thus far.  I can’t say that my husband or I was very happy at all. In fact, I remember the words “I’m not happy” being spoken in our home quite a bit.

Please don’t think that we blame the Dervish. She was just as dissatisfied as we were. Likely moreso.

As in most cases of unhappiness, we had set expectations, and they were not met. The Powers That Be sure enjoyed a hearty laugh at our expense. Oh, the hubris as I skipped over entire chapters about “challenges you may face” when reading books on infant care. The logistical snafus and changes to routine I hadn’t anticipated. I failed to remember that, on a cellular level, I don’t embrace change and failed to acknowledge that no amount of perfectionism could protect me from the unpredictability of parenting.  Add my issues to my husband’s (no tolerance for clutter and no fuse when he feels he has disappointed as protector/provider) and simmer. Ka-boom.

Fragments of our naivete are still falling from the rafters.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m glad it happened like this. It needed to.

The change that occured in our home after that was one part toddlerhood to three parts attitude adjustment. As we approach the Dervish’s second birthday,  I know I’ve never been happier in my whole life. I’ve had simpler times. Less responsible times. Me-me-me times.  I don’t recall the happiness being so profound, though. The relaxation, dear God, yes, it was sublime. I don’t think I’ll ever relax like that again.

But the happiness, now that I have post-baby to compare to pre-baby, is… ripe. Rich. Real. And with reality, comes imperfection. I would have really missed out had I not met the Dervish, or had she been anyone other than she is.

This morning, I found some who-knows-how-old provolone cheese vaporizing in a cabinet of the Dervish’s play kitchen. It actually made me giggle.