The idea in my head was a pic of the small humans playing and looking lovingly at their dad.  The reality was twenty billion pics of randomness of which this was the best. There was a lot of laughter and spilling of lightbox letters so I’d say it was a success as it brought everyone happiness for a few minutes.

This topic has allowed me to reminisce over a very happy childhood which has made me feel happy. Family holidays abroad, caravans in West Wales, chalets on the Isle of Wight. Sandy sandwiches and clambering in rock pools at Exmouth.  Freezing cold streams on the Moors trying to catch water boot men. Playing on our bikes with our spokey dokey spoke beads, roller skates and pogo sticks in the back lane. A hoard of neighbourhood kids going up to the fields to climb trees, play hide and seek and play in the field.  Non-contactable by technology and only coming home when we were hungry or the sun was going down. I hope my children get to experience such innocent experiences.

Brownies, Majorettes, gym, dancing, swimming, synchro, choir, clarinet, orchestra.  I was so lucky to try all these clubs and probably more I can’t remember. I now appreciate where the term ‘Mum’s Taxi’ comes from and wonder when I’ll be installing my own metre that never charges a fare.

Childhood innocence then turned to teenage years and I look back on them with fondness, rollermania, hanging out at the park with mates, going into town with my mates and hanging out in Burger King.  Buying endless multi packs of earrings from Claire’s Accessories and queuing at HMV at midnight to buy the Prodigy’s latest album on CD.

Fun at college, fun at university and then all of us getting our first proper jobs.  Happiness was working hard and living for the weekend, to go out pubbing and clubbing and saving for that 2 week annual girly holiday that saw another Spanish or Greek island ticket off.  Fear not ladies ‘what goes on tour stays on tour’. Driving around in my modified Escort listening to Happy Hardcore and hanging out in McDonald’s car parks! Being fortunate to travel America, New Zealand and Australia after university and having so many diverse experiences.  

Meeting my now husband and all the carefree adventures we had pre small humans (mainly see above save for the girly holidays).  Having the opportunity to return to Australia with him having sold it to him on the basis that it was hot and cheap. The year we went they experienced the worst rainfall in a long time and it was bloody expensive! We did get engaged though.

With two small humans my life now looks very different to the past couple of decades. There were times with the first small human where I longed for my former carefree existence.  There were certainly times when I wasn’t very happy, feeling overwhelmed and anxious and simply going through the motions to get through the day.  I even wondered if I would feel happiness like I had before but with each day I got more confident, more used to my new role of such great responsibility, and slowly but surely the good days outnumbered the challenging ones.

I’ve done a lot of work on my mindset over the past few years.  One of the best books recommended to me was Eckhart Tolle’s ‘Power of Now’.  Essentially you just live in the now, in the moment, not dwelling on what has gone or worrying about what might come. I try so hard to now live in the moment, focusing on what is immediately happening around me.

I know that quotes/phrases aren’t everybodies cup of tea but I love:-

‘If you don’t like it, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you feel about it’.  

This has made a massive difference in the way I think/react to situations and helps to reduce reactions of frustration/anger or repetitive feelings of frustration over a situation I can’t change.

I thought I’d ask the family what makes them happy:-

Darren – My family.  And then my bikes and other toys.  Me – In that order? Darren – For the purpose of your blog yes! Me – Idiot.  

Toby – When you take me places like holiday, the park, someone’s house, the beach. Me – Anything else?  When you spend time with me. I care for you and I love you. A lot.  Needless to say this melted my heart and made me very happy.

Chloe – Lots of shrieking at Owlette in the bath, splashing, rolling over naked (not in the bath) and grabbing hold of my hands so she can stand up.  Me – I think you look happy!

I tell you what isn’t happy right now, the temperature egg in Chloe’s room shining bright red with it’s grumpy face.  Maybe it should just chill out and enjoy this random summer that we won’t see again until I’m blogging about my grandchildren.  

For me now happiness isn’t about expensive holidays, the new car, other luxury item I can purchase.  It’s about spending quality time with my friends and family, seeing smiles and hearing laughter. I love our National Trust and Wildwood memberships as it means we get to visit loads of interesting places where we can be outside.  I love where we live as it means we can be at one of many beaches or on the moors within 30 minutes. Or on a lazy day I love that we can just pop to a local park or take a walk up the woods.

Happiness now is about feeling calmer and content with what I have.  Watching the children’s faces when they’re experiencing pure joy and watching their beautiful relationship develop. It’s about the little pockets of happiness that can be found in everyday and even on the most challenging days there are always plenty.  Happiness is now much simpler.

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