A little over a year ago my daughter celebrated the birth of her third baby.
Her first child, Sophie, was 4, the middle boy Clark was 3, and now a baby. Everyone was thrilled: the parents, grandparents, great-grandmothers, aunts and uncles, and friends.
And everyone told Sophie and Clark how very lucky they were to have a baby brother.
A day after the baby was born, when the last guest left, patting Sophie on the head saying, “You must be a happy big sister!”, Sophie cuddled up on the hospital bed next to her mother, who was nursing the baby.
“MaMa?” Sophie began.
My daughter turned her gaze from her fresh, newly hatched being and gazed at her daughter. “Yes?”
Sophie whispered apologetically and guiltily, “I’m not so happy about this.”
Ah, how well we understand the misgivings, fears, and acknowledgements that new circumstances, changes, and relationships do NOT make us happy.
Like when my guy moved us from our perfect setting in the bay area, with moderate temps, a great group of friends, a fun job, and comfortable routines, for his new job in New England. I acted thrilled, gaily checking out the real estate, the university that our son attended just miles away in Boston, and the need for a new wardrobe for a 4-season-state. But inwardly, I was NOT so happy about this.
Yet, I jumped into a new job, tutoring special ed high school students, learning a million new facets of myself. I grew close to my mother-in-law, whom I’d never really known because we’d always lived thousands of miles away. I discovered the beaches of Cape Cod and the lakes in New Hampshire, and delved more deeply into writing (and writers) while living just a few steps away from Louisa May Alcott’s and Henry David Thoreau’s spiritual and brick & mortar homes.
I even learned to like Baked Beans, lobster, and the soundless arrival of snow.
During this time, a New England friend, happily traveling throughout the world in his upper management position, was suddenly “retired early.” Oh, how he fought what he saw as a downturn in his life. How could the company possibly live without his skills? He sulked, he ranted, and he knew he was not ready to “go out to pasture,” as he spouted to anyone who listened. He was not so happy about this!
But he surprised us all in a breathtaking way by signing up for a position in a non-profit organization that trained the disabled so they could acquire jobs and make a living for themselves. My always-corporate friend now earns a salary a quarter of what he’s used to, hobnobs with women and men who have less than a high school education with tough sad backgrounds and sadder tales of struggling in this world.
His corporate experience helps him procure donations and grants, and he encourages companies (like the kind he used to work for) to hire the needy who he represents. He has made a difference, and he is a happy man –feeling a deeper purpose in his life. His hours and his attitude are more relaxed; thus, his golf game has improved dramatically!
Can you think of the changes in your life in which you were NOT SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS?
And then what happened?
HAPPY (and maybe sometimes, NOT SO HAPPY) NEW YEAR TO YOU!
Sophie, now VERY HAPPY with her baby brother.