Myopic happiness and the magic of 7

A whole summer has flown past. I honestly don’t know where time goes. 7 years seems infinite and yet I think still of Arron in a strange past/present sort of way, where I remember how his ear felt, or the rough feeling of his beard, but can’t quite conjure anymore, his voice or even what he might say in a given situation.
The summer has been an exercise in finding joy in everyday events. An update on past posts:

Carter tried the meditation tapes exactly twice. He listened diligently, told me they were sort of corny and then squirreled them away in the abyss of his desk drawers. His anxiety and depression continued and so I found myself doing what I always said I wouldn’t: I put my kid on happy pills. “You mean there is a pill I can take that will help me?” he asked accusingly. He began taking them and we have not looked back. I never could have imagined the change. Almost immediately he cut his long, face-hiding hair into an Ashton Kutchner-inspired do. The sk8rboy wardrobe was replaced with pink, preppy polos. (do pink polos equate to a happy child I wonder?) He smiled. And I will never again sneer at the use of pharmaceuticals in children. Our lives have changed for the better. Carter is Carter in a way I knew he could be, but didn’t believe anyone would ever really get to see.

We went to Europe and now the kids want me to take a sabbatical for a year, though whether its London or Paris changes on a whim. Carter has a new dream of attending Cordon Bleu. The kids followed me around Paris (bribed with crepes) as I showed them Monet and Renoir. They ate escargot. They sat with me at Gare du Nord as we waited for a train to Giverney, Olivia placid and uncomplaining despite not feeling well. We walked through Monet’s house and garden replicating scenes from Olivia’s favorite childhood book Linnea. In London, they drank tea at Fortnum and Mason, and zoomed maniacally around Hamley’s with their cousin Cleo. In Wakefield, they got to know their Dack cousins and saw where their Dad was born. In Utrecht, Olivia actually got onto her knees to bow down before a giant gold stature of Miffy, the creation of Dick Bruna, whose museum we were visiting with my Dutch publisher. Michael unexpectedly joined us in Amsterdam where we found all the best places to eat and where all of us were wholly moved at the Anne Frank House. I managed to do several interviews with Dutch magazines to promote the Dutch version of my book.

I already look back on the trip with nostalgia, knowing I will remember it for always.

Back home, we spent time being bored ferrying back and forth to Vashon Island, so much so that the kids were happy to finally be going back to school this week.

And thus, I find myself once again at the doorstep of yet another anniversary, wondering where time went and what it means to be happy. Is happy the wonderful moments traipsing around Europe, or is it the boring days in the garden on Vashon? What about the moments of the kids fighting? It seems that happiness is a lens by which one views the world. Lately I have worried that my lens is permanently scratched. Like my eyesight which continues to deteriorate with age (at an alarming rate), the view has become slightly myopic. I can’t help wondering at what point I get to feel real, actual, wind-in-my-hair exuberance for something. I came close in Paris. I have come close watching Carter heal, and admiring Olivia on a soccer field. But I am not there yet. Perhaps 7 will be the magic number.

Leave A Comment