Max knew just the thing that would make him happy, and he told me. That was awesome. Lately, it hasn't been as easy for me to figure out the same. Unlike pizza, happiness does not just show up on your kitchen table. Obviously, my kids make me happy (when they are not driving me batty). But a bunch of the stuff that I typically enjoy—everything from reading time on my morning commute to vacations with the family—are on hold for now. Like many parents out there, my days are extra-hectic as I juggle work, virtual schooling, and the cooking and cleanup involved with a family mostly at home all the time. It's hard to be alone, let alone do something enjoyable. My mind is too busy to even zone out to TV.
Then someone at work made me think about something that always brings me happiness and comfort. She recommended listening to The Chronicles of Narnia on Audible. read by Kenneth Branaugh and other notables. I'd loved that series as a child. In fact, when I pondered it (as in: I ACTUALLY DEDICATED TIME TO THINKING), revisiting faves from when I was younger brings me joy in a way unlike anything else. And maybe I needed to work more of that stuff into my life. Not just comfort reads and comfort food (though there's a lot to be said about comfort cupcakes—I'll get to that in a sec), but comfort activities and comfort entertainment and the comfort of old friends.
Like the happy feeling I have doing puzzles. Someone recently gave me a Dell Express Fill-in Puzzle book. I used to do similar ones as a kid. I wasn't sure I could find the time but I started doing one while standing at the kitchen counter the day I got the book, and I couldn't stop until I finished it. For the first time in forever, I wasn't thinking about politics or the pandemic. Some weeks, I don't get around to doing a puzzle, but I am going to leave the book on my nightstand so I remember to.
Like the happiness I felt when we were driving in the car this weekend and Blister in the Sun came on and I sang the whole song. "College song!" said Dave. Totally. I made a mental note to reach out to old college friends; my plan is to call or zoom one a week. I mean, what makes you happier than college friends and college memories?
Like the happiness I felt when I got Halloween cupcakes in our recent supermarket delivery, the orange-frosted kind topped with candy corn that I loved as a kid. They're made by Entenmann's and I think they may only be available in the NY area and I'm very sorry if you are now drooling on your keyboard.
Like the happy feeling I get when I put on this retro-style watermelon lip gloss. My sister and I loved it as kids and months ago she found some and bought me a tin. The smell of it totally takes me back.
Like the happiness I felt Saturday night when Matt, a super-nice guy in our neighborhood, had a lawn viewing of The Rocky Horror Show. As a teen, for years I'd see it every Saturday night at midnight during summer. This weekend's viewing started at 7:00; Sabrina was hanging with friends and Dave had taken the boys to his sister's, so I went alone. I hadn't seen the movie for decades but I remembered every song and how to do The Time Warp. Sitting there in the chill on a camp chair, surrounded by neighbors, I felt all warm and fuzzy. It's not exactly one to share with the kids, exactly, but next weekend I'm going to pick an old fave—maybe Splash—for movie night.