Joy

Breathe in right this second. Can you feel it? Is joy contagious?

I sort of hate to write when I'm this happy. Because I think if I have to find a thesaurus to look up synonyms for gratitude, I might just be venturing into writing stuff that is sweet enough to cause tooth decay. If you're not in the mood for a bit of gushing, you might just want to skip this entry. Or floss after reading it or something.

This weekend has been...just right. Just filled to the brim with happiness in the Cooper house.

It didn't start out that way, actually. Saturday morning, I was drinking my coffee before anyone got up and I accidentally went to a blog I used to read daily but have let slip by the wayside.

Wait, I'm beginning wrong.

Here's the thing: I fight depression. (No! Really? Long time readers may insert massive eye-rolling at this point --y'all have earned it.) It's a very delicate balance, you know, staying in the green, happy zone. I have to be careful what I put in my brain because my brain (since I've had children, at least), is filtered through my heart. So, things like those memos recently released which detail acceptable methods of torture sanctioned by my own country's government? Those almost put me under the big dark curtain. I finally accept that as much as I can, I have to take responsibility for my mental health. So, I'm careful what I put into my brain because I never quite know what horrific news story will haunt me. (While this does not exactly make for an informed citizen, it DOES allow me to, um, function.)

Anyway, I went to this blog I haven't read in quite a while (having quit reading because of the pervasive negativity, actually) and I happened upon a post about "Little Ways I Fail" as a parent. And, whoo-doggy, there I went down the slippery slope--thinking of all the ways I fall short as a mom. Part of the problem of being me is that I seem to have an endless capacity to remember the times I've fallen short in parenting my girls, but I retain the things I do right for a whopping five whole minutes before I forget them. So I started thinking about the time I... nope, just don't go there. I had to put myself in the car, go to Home Depot and buy planting stuff to get past it.

But I did get past it. And the rain stopped and the sun came out and my husband, who spoils me beyond all measure, built me more planting beds and then went BACK to Home Depot and bought dirt to fill them. ORGANIC dirt.

As he was unloading the dirt, I was overcome. "Kiss me quick, I'm having a Joy Rush!" I said.

(He laughed and he did. Could I BE luckier?)

I guess what makes me so happy is the way my husband is so game to just make my dreams come true --even when it means hard physical labor for him or if it's something that HE is not all that passionate about. These raised beds that are taking over our backyard are not really the stuff of HGTV garden decor, if you know what I mean. I'm a very enthusiastic (and bad) gardener and I long to have some sort of lovely, elegant English-type garden that blooms year 'round. Right now, though, I'm interested in summer vegetables and so we have these raised beds, their placement dictated by where the sun falls. They are a little out of place in my backyard. My husband has never said a word. He's just so good to me.

Anyway, I spent the whole weekend feeling blessed and grateful. It's amazing to me how the attitude of thankfulness makes everything, every little thing, seem like a present. When Sunday dawned bringing a crushing migraine that sent me back to bed for two hours, I was so grateful for my family's willingness to put our plans on hold until I felt better. Doing the mountain of laundry felt like a way to give something back to them. In fact, I took a special load upstairs to restock my husband's underwear and undershirts just so when he opened his drawer, he'd find it full.

I know, I know...I'm probably certifiable.

So, sue me.

Among the funny things that happened this weekend:

On Saturday, I bought a trellis at Home Depot because on Friday, my friend Donna took me to a wholesale nursery. (She gets to shop wholesale because she has a business arranging and maintaining the office/showroom plants for various commercial entities. When I told my husband that she'd taken me with her to a wholesale nursery, I'm pretty sure he got a bit pale, no doubt picturing all of our grocery money disappearing into flowers...) I bought this plant with beautiful red flowers (Mandevilla) that needs a trellis to climb. I looked for a wrought iron one but couldn't find one so I bought this one:

The hilarious thing is that as I was checking out with it, the cashier took a look at the trellis and shook her head in disgust. "These things are so crappy," she said. "They come apart! I bought one last year and it just came apart. I should bring it back. You should bring it back if it comes apart."

Well, okay then.

Comments

Carolyn said…
I will happily floss every day to read happy posts like yours.
That is a New Yorker cashier, isn't it? I love them.

I saw the blog you refer to. Didn't she mean it humorously? Wasn't she wanting us to laugh at ourselves? As in, let's acknowledge that there is no way we can do everything right, so we just need to lower that bar already!

And you hit the nail on the head as far as what I like about our new president: he can look at things that make us just want to hide under our blankets for the weekend and come out with some really uplifting statement about the situation, like what he said about Churchill's statements against torture during his news conference the other day. Did you hear him? I didn't listen to the whole conference, but Maureen Dowd talks about that segment at the end of her column today (or yesterday). He makes me feel that we can use our brains and our hearts to make things right again.
Barb said…
I'm sure she meant it humorously, although I didn't find it funny. (We all make mistakes but perhaps we shouldn't blame our children for the ones that are clearly ours.)

I guess I didn't make myself clear--it wasn't anything to do with what she wrote, it was the effect it had on me. I beat myself up for my shortcomings and if I had let myself start down the road of remembering them all, I would have just gone back to bed and written the day off. I'm trying to recognize when something I read has the power to depress me so that I do something proactive to counteract it.

I love our President.
otter said…
I'm right with you on the having to be careful what we put in our brains thing. If I see or even hear about an animal cruelty news story, that's it, dig me a hole. I also spend a lot of time beating myself up for ways I feel I have failed, stupid thing is, I would never think poorly of someone else for making the exact same mistakes.
MadMad said…
Love this post - it's like instructions on how you actually have to make the lemonade, not just let the lemons do all the work. So true. And prune thorny rose bushes so you don't get pricked.

Oh, just LOOK at me! Metaphors, double entendres.... I'm on such a roll. (Downhill...? hahaha Well, I crack myself up, anyway.)
The garden sounds lovely. And I identify with your problems re the news. During the darkest months of this past year, I had to stop listening to NPR for awhile. It was the only thing I could control in my life, so I controlled it.
LaDonna said…
I know what you mean about the news. I actually had someone tell me once that I should stop watching the news, reading the newspaper or listening to news radio. If there was anything that important going on, someone would tell me. While I haven't stopped completely, I only watch local news (mostly for the weather and with the flooding here, I watched alot more than normal over the past month). I've learned to strike a balance between my level of informedness (is that even a word?) and my sanity. I think I'm a much happier person because of it. If it's a choice between the two, my sanity wins every time.

Can't wait for your pictures of tomatoes and cucumbers and other garden goodies! You say you're a bad gardener...you're miles ahead of me!
Lynn said…
Remember, love covers a multitude of sins. I figure as long as I try, and love them to pieces, hopefully they will turn out well and eventually put me in a nice nursing home.
Jen said…
Thank you for reminding me to see the joy. Yesterday I was not at my best in this department. I think I owe a few apologies ...
Sue said…
I loved this post. I think we really can train ourselves to look for the good stuff (although lately I've been primarily looking at the irritating side of life - and lazilyletting myself get away with it because of the whole pregnancy thing) - it's such a happier way to be. Your husband is a gem.
Karen ~ said…
I hear you, I am feeling the joy this year, too!!!!!
Becca said…
I too fight the crazy (more eye rolling from anyone who knows me) and I am VERY careful what I read/listen to etc. Esp right now, th9ings are very stressful and uncertain at work so i have just stopped watching the news. Problem is, I have to scan news sites and read newspapers as part of my job. I avoid Fax news because there is always something about someone hurting a child or an animal..but the other day I got blindsided by a story in our local news about kids teasing a moose until it ran into a fence and died...I was down for 48 hours over that
But we to had excellent weather all weekend and my hubby cleaned up the backyard so i can sit out there under my lovely huge umbrella and veg now (except this pesky 4 year old keeps asking me to play in the sandbox...)
Miriam said…
First the joy. I'm right there with you. There's nothing like a joy breakthrough to make a weekend fantabulous.

Next. The cashier thing has me rolling. I just think that's too rich. I have a pet peeve with cashiers commenting on what I'm buying. It makes me feel weird. Like, "Oh, have you tried this brand of [fill in the blank]? 'Cuz it's a waste of money/bad for you/my fat kid's favorite junk food ever." I want a cashier who doesn't judge. That's the thing. I guess I wouldn't survive NY shopping!