Skip to main content

The Happy Family.

What does it look like?

I've seen questions surrounding the idea of a 'happy family' in the past couple of days. The first was asking for the opinion of people who had a 'happy childhood' about what made their childhood happy, and the other - just now in my inbox - asked, 'Is your family as happy as you would like it to be?'

I imagine if I clicked through from that email in my inbox, I'd received a list of things I could do to make my family happier if I didn't feel they were as happy as I'd like them to be.

Can a family ever be as happy as we'd like them to be, I mean for more than a moment in time?

The other night I watched 'Deep Impact' for the fifty millionth time. At one point Tea Leoni's character is reminiscing with her dad about 'one perfect day' they had together during her childhood before her parents split up.

A single perfect day?

I wonder how often I've tried to make this happen with my family. Creating a picture perfect day where people are all smiling and happy and getting along. A day where every day worries aren't lingering behind our eyes causing our smiles to drop in unguarded moments?

I have never succeeded in making such a day happen.

We haven't had our 'one perfect day' yet.

I suspect those days don't really exist. I suspect they're a construct of advertising and movies and stories we're told as children. I suspect they're an ideal and as such, they're lovely to imagine, but striving for them will only bring frustration and disappointment and possibly even a feeling of having failed some sort of essential test.

Is my family as happy as I'd like it to be? Hell no! Of course it isn't. I'd love us all to live stress-free lives and to feel fulfilled all the time, and never be sick - of each other, mostly.

There are many ways in which I can fool myself in thinking, 'If only...'

If only we owned our own home.
If only we had a car.
If only the Grumpy Old Man had a job.
If only I could get published.
If only it was always sunny and 25 degrees with a light breeze.
If only we won the lotto.

The problem with that way of thinking is it doesn't address the main problem, which is our attitude. I think happy families have great attitudes. They accept that life isn't always going to be straight forward and stress free. They accept that each member has his or her own needs, personalities and idiosyncrasies and that sometimes we will irritate one another or even downright piss each other off. They know that someone throwing a tantrum or not smiling all day long can't 'spoil the day', that only each individual can really do that for themselves by focusing on the blemishes rather than the beauty.

Happy families forgive and laugh and don't let little things become big things that block out the sun.*

Based on that, I think we have a happy family.

We're definitely not a Kellogg's ad family, or an Omo family, but sometimes for very brief and flighty moments, if you squint and hold your breath, we could be mistaken for one.

That's enough for me!

* This is where I'd like to acknowledge that happy families come in all sorts of sizes and shapes; they include single parent families and blended families as a result of separation or divorce. Sometimes happy families need restructuring to truly be happy!


Popular posts from this blog

The symbolism of elephants...

Just recently I've been seeing and noticing elephants everywhere!

A few weeks ago I saw the Samsung Elephant Ad, and watching that led me to watching a video with an elephant painting (seriously, you have to watch it to believe it!).

Then last night the boys told me they were having a free dress day at school to raise money for 'Mali the Elephant' - who turned out to be a paper maché statue which the children will paint and then show around the council before it comes back to the school to stand outside the performing arts room.

Then this morning I followed a link from Twitter to Toushka Lee's blog and read this post about an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka.

This morning the Grumpy Old Man did another driving test and unfortunately didn't pass. We've booked his next test and are looking forward to that now. About ten minutes before he walked in the door I saw this poster on Facebook...

At the time, I didn't know if the Grumpy Old Man had been successful or …

Alone... And Stuff...

Do you ever just need to be alone?

As the boys are growing up, we have more times when the house is quiet. The youngest will be asleep. One will be reading, one will be playing on his computer with headphones on, one will be painting and there is stillness.

Sometimes, even that is not enough.

Sometimes I crave being alone, with no possibility of someone suddenly realising they have to tell me something important or ask me a question or even just crash about in the kitchen.

Sometimes I crave S P A C E, lots and lots of space, being able to walk from room to room without encountering another soul.

This is how I felt when I woke up this morning, so instead of getting ready for work, I decided to stay home. Get up, but not go anywhere, no hear the sound of my own voice, or anyone else's.

I think this might just be part of getting older. After a lifetime of chasing after other people and trying not to be alone, my mind and body is full of thoughts, experiences, feelings, and busy-ness …

12 Things Happy People Do Differently - a self-reflection...

A few days ago a Facebook friend posted the above poster on her wall. I believe she got these points from this blog which she enjoys reading, and the bloggers on the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog derived their discussion of these points from this book, available on Amazon - you're welcome! I have to admit, I haven't read the blog or the book I've just mentioned but wanted my readers to have access to the sources of the poster for their own reflective purposes.
The New Year will be upon us in but a few days and I thought this a great opportunity to do a little personal assessment on how I'm playing the happy game. I'm often not very happy at all - I don't need to be happy all the time, let me just say that up front - I personally believe that life is a balancing act and those who seek euphoria often will also often feel desolation because in all things there must be balance. The great riches of the few on this planet come at the personal cost of the many as is …