I wasn’t a happy child.
In fact, it took be a long time to learn to be happy, to teach myself that I could be happy.
I remember sitting in a therapist’s office as a teenager and informing her that I didn’t even want to be happy, that it was a transient emotion, that it was wild and uncontrollable and I didn’t want it. Poor Linda never knew what to do with me.
So far, you appear to be ridiculously happy babies. Don’t get me wrong, you have your moments, but people often ask us whether you are ‘like this all of the time’ and for the most part, yes, you are. You smile almost constantly and laugh often. You delight in the world and are eager to share in it. And when you are dissatisfied you rally against the injustice with piercing wails until circumstances are different. You are seven months old and you know that life should be a pleasurance experience. Seven months.
As a parent I am acutely aware of my own responsibility not to irrevocably break you, or at least not to mess you up more than the average parent inevitably messes up their children. Sometimes it can’t be helped. Things happen. Children are damaged by things that their parents cannot predict or prevent. Sometimes they damage themselves.
But oh, I want for you to be happy children. To have your childhood. To grow up to know your own worth and the value of others, of friendship, of letting people in. To be a country, not an island. To reach adulthood unscathed and with the skills to navigate grown-up life. To be happy adults, capable parents, pensioners who look back on their life with a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
That is not to say that I don’t want you to experience any other emotion. A little bit of fear and disappointment and anger is good for you; you need to learn to cope in an imperfect world and better that you learn in childhood when your support system is at its strongest. I know that. I do want that for you. But oh – not too much. Not so much that it crushes you. And I hope that we will be there to pick you up and dust you off and kiss your scraped knees when you fall.
And I hope that the falls are always that type of fall, that they are never from a height or an awkward angle. I hope that you learn to land well, to roll rather than snap your ankles, to laugh as you stand up.
And I hope that you are never sat in a therapist’s office rejecting happiness. Because this is the best feeling in the world.
My Two Mums and Goblin Child have made it to the finals in the Mad Blog Awards! We would love it if you would vote for us to win in the Best Baby (Goblin Child), Best Family Fun (My Two Mums) and Best Photography (Goblin Child) categories.