Out of the Blue
Out of the blue my son asked me, "Papa, are you happy?"
My first thought was that I've got to stop wearing my pissed off, put upon face. But then I was struck by the fact that Sebastian has never asked me about my feelings before. Was this a new phase? A looking outward, away from the me, me, me.
And then the question really hit me. Am I happy?
I thought of my grandmother who died in 1994, after ninety-four years of life. At her memorial service I read from a letter she wrote. Its contents have become one of my foundations. In it she said she strived for contentment. That happiness was momentary, as was sadness. But really, there was nothing wrong with sustaining a pure, almost zenlike (although Grandma would never have used the word zenlike) form of contentment.
Then coming back into my present self, I wondered what level of happiness anyone can really achieve while picking clothes off the floor and contemplating a trip to the grocery store with two kids who have recently discovered the joy of stealing Rolos. Truth be told, at that moment even contentment was eluding me. If only I could find my zen with housework.
I'm a bit of a stickler for the truth, but it occurred to me that my six year old was not interested in Eastern philosophy. So, instead, I copped out and said, "Yes, I'm happy."
He nodded his head with an unusual intensity which prompted me to ask, "Honey, are you happy?"
Sebastian is basically a good natured kid and quick with the yes, so I assumed that would be his answer. And then he'd distract himself by asking me again about the paramedics he saw at the side of the road earlier that morning.
Instead, with thoughtful purpose he answered, "I'm adjusting."
They grow up so fast.