They Call This Happy...
There are moments that I just shake my head, and I can't believe that I'm a Dad, or that there are three girls in this house who look to me with some sense of love and trust. Three women under this roof that have an unwavering faith in me, it's such a foreign feeling thing. I think I've spent my entire life trying way too hard to make people happy...believing that somehow I had to be something, or do something different or better, or...I don't know...I just felt this soft, subtle pressure to imagine myself up into the ether. Now, I just have to hug someone, or answer a cry in the dark...or hold my daughter while she cries so that her Mom can shower, and breathe. That's all I have to do, and somehow that earns these giant heaping piles of soft and warm affection.
That's the difference between then and now, I think. When you're young it's the big moments that you seek, perhaps to add context, or maybe to define yourself...but then you're jumped by the notion that it's the little moments that fill the shelves of our memory. It's the small moments that you can cup in your hands and hold until they dissipate that tend to urge our lives on.
It's quieting your child for the very first time, and feeling her trust as her body goes loose and drifts away into sleep.
It's playing Simon Says at a friend's dinner table with a three year old holding court and the laughter pouring out into the street.
It's an easy 5am conversation with your wife when the house is still and silent.
It's her hand on your knee as she falls asleep in the passenger seat, just like her babies in the back.
It's a grown man with a bug net catching butterflies in the front yard to feed a pet Preying Mantis.
It's looking down and seeing their names on your arm.
If I thought that I knew what happiness was before this, I was wrong, or at least right just for a moment, but not forever. This feels like forever, and it's not as scary as you think it would be...it's soft and warm, and feels an awful lot like giving a three year old 80% of your bed after a nightmare while you limp into morning in the remaining 20%. They call this happy and now I know why.