Happiness is far too fleeting a goal for me.
I'm no fool.
After all, I know what it's like to eat dinner with me.
We begin, hurriedly preparing the plates, filling water glasses, trying to sit down before dinner cools.
We say our prayers. The daily recaps begin. “So and so was mean to me at recess today, but I played with my best friend and we played Miss Mary Mack,” my dramatic daughter retells with wild inflection, grand hand motions, and endearing facial expression. As she is telling her story, part of her pork chop flies off her waving fork and lands on the floor.
I'm frustrated, but we find the humor in the situation, we all laugh, and my son begins to talk about Forge of Empires and Pokemon. I try to pay attention. I really do. I watch the freckles on his nose dance as he talks about his latest passions. He's adorable, but I can't stand either hobby.
That's his father's area of expertise. And just on cue, from my left comes my husband's deep, smooth voice, adding input to recent improvements made on their “FOE” villages. I feel a soft affection for him bubble in my soul as I listen to him converse with our son. He's a great dad.
Then, without warning, the tears flow.
So was my dad.
But he's gone now.
So, there I am, the rest of my family chattering away, and tears just start flowing down my face. “Why can't I hold it together?” I chastise myself for being 'so darn emotional' which actually makes me cry more. And before I know it, I'm sobbing into my purple cloth napkin that my daughter picked out especially for me that night.
All my family stops their conversation. My son comes and stands at my right side, gently supporting my elbow with his hand. My husband steps away from his plate as well, and rubs my shoulders as I sob from the middle of my heart. My little girl says quietly, “I miss him too.”
I cry for another minute. Everyone returns to their seats. I take a deep breath and we begin to discuss playing Monopoly as a family after dinner.
Anecdotal proof. Happiness is really short lived. Especially now, in the middle of grief. Actually, most emotions are at this point in my life. All these feelings come and go and change without warning.
All but love.
Love is right around me. I give it. I get it. I treasure it. And somehow, even in the middle of all these floods of emotions and unsteadiness, love is what I seem to have a choice to choose.
Love doesn't cure all my sadness, but it soothes it, until the next short lived happy moment comes along.
You know, like when I win Monopoly later that night.
So, win or lose, love is what I want at the center of my life, not happiness.