Do you think our happiness can be directly linked to our ability to love? I believe that; I believe that sometimes the measurement of our love is also the measurement of our happiness.
What I think is hard about life, and motherhood, is that it constantly throws stuff in our face that disrupts our love, and in turn our happiness, and vice versa. With incessant demands placed on us and growing babies who constantly throw us out of our comfort zones, our home - what should be our "safe haven" - can at times feel a war zone, each one of us fighting for the love, the happiness, the caressing, the comfort we crave and long for.
I have had tiny moments recently that have led to thoughts of, "I am sincerely enjoying this moment." A recent one was when I grabbed one of my girls to tickle her. I'm typically annoyed with their grabbing my face, "mom. mom. mom. mom. woot-at-me (look at me). mom. mom. mom. mooooom." I most likely haven't taken one breath by myself in 24 hours and am annoyed that if I start playing with them I'll have to keep playing with them forever and ever and everrrrr ('cause once you [start] the fun don't stop). But, this time that I grabbed Annie, I was filled with gladness to be to playing with her and tickling her. I was enjoying her laughter, her curls, her smiles, her happiness (the romance ended when she kicked me in the nose but at least now I know the happiness is in there somewhere.) Another moment was while doing dishes. I am always complaining about washing too many dishes and why haven't I been to Costco yet to buy 50 million bowls and plates and cups so I don't have to wash one more?! (By the way, Tyler and I have been married seven and a half years and have had a dishwasher for all of 3 months of those.) But this time I found myself genuinely happy while standing at the sink washing loads and loads of dishes. These moments have struck me because they are very, very unlike the norm. I now know that happiness is a feeling of peace and contentment that can come despite the circumstances - it comes over time, and can be difficult to find, and the moments come and go, but I feel refreshed that in the mundane there are pockets of joy to be found, and I have found some of them.
I am also beginning to enjoy mothering my babies; I feel happy to stay home with them, and I am not fighting to constantly get away from them and the feeling I am drowning, or they are smothering me, or something... I'm not saying I "love every single moment because it's going too fast" - definitely not that! And there are plenty of minutes and hours I want to scream and drive far away while they tantrum on the kitchen floor. But as our lives unfold together I find myself happy to love them and even happier to be their mom. The measurement of my love had increased, as has my happiness while I'm around them. My heart, and our home, suddenly feels lighter and more full of laughter and love.
I was almost brought to tears while photographing these three. During this hour together happiness took over and love was all that was known. Every worry and care went flying out a wide open window into a breeze waiting to catch and carry them away, far from our joy and laugher. Everyone practically skipped down the shadowed path that lead us to sun kissed waves, glittering sand, hazy mist, and a wide open beach to frolic and play. Few were the spoken words, and overflowing the emotions of closeness, remembrance, and peace, creating a moment and a memory unable to be forgotten.