I’m sitting outside, in a communal yard, writing on my laptop while my children play with five other children and three dads sit here, a five month old chillin’ in the shade in his stroller. The stay at home dads’ club is chatting about classic movies, bad movies, B rated movies, and the children blowing bubbles and losing their shoes. Sometimes I join in the conversation. Sometimes I just sit here and listen. I feel like after 34 years I’ve found my place, at least for now, somewhere I’d never imagined. It’s not what I wanted, or even what I’d choose now if I could pick. But for this moment, it is definitely my place.
For this moment, it doesn’t matter that I woke up in tears, and in pain because a child had been kicking me in the back since she climbed in at midnight due to nightmares. It doesn’t matter that while I scrambled to find clothes for everyone and put them on myself, my oldest (age 5) took eggs and bacon out of the refrigerator for breakfast and proceeded to break three of the eggs on the floor and try to clean them up with towels from the guest bathroom. He’s already forgiven me for yelling at him when I found the soggy towels and eggs all over the counter and floor. He cuddled in my lap and told me he was sorry for the mess, and I told him I was sorry for yelling and made him bacon and eggs for breakfast after I finished cleaning half-dried egg off everything.
Just for now, I don’t miss my friends and family enough that it’s a huge effort not to collapse in a heap on the floor and not move. Oddly, in this place I didn’t want, with these people I didn’t know six weeks ago, I’m comfortable. I’m content. Happy? At times. I think happiness is something we strive for – not something we are. It’s the pinnacle of human existence – that moment when your story is published, or a paycheck comes in, or a child shrieks with delight over her new bicycle. It’s that moment when your spouse comes home from Texas, or you pick up your friend from the airport for a two week visit. It’s the instant when your lips meet someone else’s, or someone thanks you for cooking them dinner. Happiness is a shared smile, a shared memory. Happiness is the rain falling on your face, the first cool day at the end of a long summer. Happiness is a moment, not a constant condition. Savor your moments.